The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) commenced its case on Monday in the trial of Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on charges of procurement fraud in an FCT High Court in Abuja.
The anti-graft agency has accused Emefiele of various offenses, including criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage, and breach of trust. Emefiele, however, denied these charges when he was arraigned on Friday.
Initially facing six counts, Emefiele was re-arraigned after the EFCC filed amended charges, bringing the total to 20 counts.
During the trial, the EFCC’s first witness, Onyeka Ogbu, a Deputy Director in CBN branch operations, testified that $6.2 million was allocated for international election observers. Ogbu explained that upon receiving a request for payment on January 8, 2023, he processed and disbursed the funds as instructed.
The witness requested more time to gather additional documents, but Emefiele’s lawyer opposed the request, suggesting an adjournment to allow the prosecution to obtain all necessary certified copies and to allow for cross-examination of the witness.
Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned the trial to the following day after considering their submissions.
Among the amended charges, the EFCC alleged that in January 2023, Emefiele forged a document titled “RE: PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE ON FOREIGN ELECTION OBSERVER MISSIONS.” It further claimed that Emefiele colluded with Odoh Ocheme, who is currently evading arrest, to obtain $6.2 million from the CBN under the pretext that it was requested by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
The EFCC also accused Emefiele of awarding a contract for the renovation of the CBN Governor’s lodge to a company where he and Ocheme are directors and majority shareholders, in violation of relevant anti-corruption laws.