November 16, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government has again amended its procurement charges against the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
Emefiele, who was arrested by operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) on Saturday, June 10 after he was suspended as the CBN Governor on June 9 by President Bola Tinubu, was granted bail on Wednesday, November 8, by a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, sitting in Maitama, Abuja.
The former CBN governor was released to his lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Matthew Burkaa, who signed an undertaking to produce him in court for trial while being granted bail by Justice Olukayode Adegbola Adeniyi.
THEWILL recalls that the DSS had charged Emefiele before the Lagos State High Court with illegal possession of firearms.
Amid the failed bid by the DSS to rope in the former apex bank chief, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice withdrew the charges and approached the FCT High Court, Abuja with fresh charges.
In August, the Federal Government had approached Justice Hamza Muazu at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja where a fresh 20 counts of procurement fraud charges were filed against Emefiele and a CBN staff member, Sa’adatu Yaro, bordering on alleged N6.9 billion fraud.
The Government had alleged that Emefiele used his office to confer a corrupt advantage on Yaro to procure some exotic cars worth N6.9 billion.
While the arraignment had been stalled since August 17, the Federal Government, in a new amended charge, has reduced the charges to 6.
Although the charges still bother on purported procurement fraud, the value was lowered from N6.9 billion to N1.2 billion.
Marked CR/577/2023, the charges filed on November 8 were 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 the sole defendant, the Federal Government is accusing 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 V8s 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 reads, “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.”