November 17, (THEWILL) – Barely a week after his release from the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, has again ordered former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, be remanded in Kuje prison pending the determination of his request for bail.
Justice Hamza Muazu gave the order on Friday following the arraignment of Emefiele by the Federal Government on a six-count charge bordering on alleged procurement fraud to which he pleaded not guilty.
Justice Muazu adjourned the case till November 22 for ruling on the bail application of Emefiele and November 28 for the commencement of trial.
While arguing the bail application, Emefiele’s lawyer, Matthew Burkaa (SAN) prayed the court to exercise its discretion in the ex-CBN’s favour because he has suffered too long in the hands of the Federal Government that kept him for 151 days in its custody.
Burkaa tendered documents, including evidence of the bail earlier granted Emefiele by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi (also of the High Court of the FCT).
Arguing that the initial bail was a temporary relief, in view of the fact that the ex-CBN Governor had suffered unduly in custody, Burkaa said the bail application was filed when the defendant had been in state custody for 151 days.
Burkaa argued that while the defendant has placed enough evidence before the court that Emefiele will not jump bail, the prosecution has not supplied any evidence to show that he will jump bail.
Responding to the application, Lawyer for the prosecution, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), opposed the bail application. He argued that the order for bail earlier granted was in respect of a fundamental rights enforcement suit, while this one is a criminal prosecution.
THEWILL earlier reported that the Federal Government had amended the alleged procurement charges it filed against Emefiele and reduced the charges which originally was 20 to 6.
Marked CR/577/2023, the charges filed on November 8 was signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar; Deputy Director, Public Prosecution, Mrs Nkiru Jones-Nebo and eight other ministry officials.
Charged as sole defendant, the Federal Government accused the former CBN governor of using his position to confer a corrupt advantage on Yaro by awarding a contract for the procurement of 43 vehicles worth N1.2 billion between 2018 and 2020.
The alleged vehicles include 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles at the cost of N854.7 million, one Toyota Avalon at the cost of N99.9 million, one Toyota Landcruiser V8 at the cost of N73.8 million, two Toyota Hilux Shell Specification Vehicles at the cost of N44,200,000.
Emefiele was also alleged to have awarded Yaro a contract for the procurement of two Toyota Landcruiser VXR V8 worth 138 million.
According to the charges, the alleged procurement contravened Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
Count one read, “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, male, adult, sometime in 2018 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did use your position as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro, a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria by awarding a contract for the supply of 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles at the cost of N854,700,000 only to April1616 Investment Ltd, a company in which the said Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro is a director and thereby committed an offence.”