Abuse of office: Court grants Emefiele N50m bail

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By Kenneth Atavti

The High court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, has granted bail to embattled former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, in the sum of N50 million.

In his ruling on the bail application on Friday, the judge, Rahmon Oshodi, admitted Emefiele on bail with two sureties in like sum.

Nigerian pilot recalled that Emefiele is facing trial in Lagos on a 26-count charge bordering on abuse of office.

Emefiele had ealier pleaded not guilty to a 26-count charge bordering on abuse of office brought against him by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja on Monday remanded the former governor of the CBN in the custody of the EFCC, following his arraignment.

Justice Rahman Oshodi made the remand order after Emefiele and his co-defendants, Herry Omoile, pleaded not guilty to a 26-count charge bordering on abuse of office brought against them by the EFCC.

Emefiele had remained behind bars until today, Friday when the Judge granted his bail application.

The judge remanded Omoile in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services.

Before the court’s ruling, Emefiele’s lawyer Abdulakeem Ladi-Lawal had urged the court to admit his client to bail self-recognition or, on the most liberal terms.

The lawyer particularly urged the court to impose the same bail conditions earlier granted to the defendant by Justice Hamzat Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja and that he should be released to his lawyers pending the perfection of the bail terms.

The EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, did not oppose the bail application but urged the judge to impose conditions that would compel the defendants to court for their trial.

The defendants were accused of accepting gratification, accepting gifts through agents, corruption, and fraudulent property receipts.

He was also accused of conferring a corrupt advantage on his associates contrary to the Corrupt Practices Act of 2000 in the charge filed on April 3rd by the EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, (SAN).

The defendants were accused of accepting gratification, accepting gifts through agents, corruption, and fraudulent property receipts.

He was also accused of conferring a corrupt advantage on his associates contrary to the Corrupt Practices Act of 2000 in the charge filed on April 3rd by the EFCC Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, (SAN).

Emefiele is also being prosecuted by the EFCC at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja over allegations of fraudulent financial transactions during his time in office.

The charge, marked ID/23787c/2024, dated April 3, 2024, was filed by Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN).

EFCC alleged that Emefiele committed abuse of office between 2022 and 2023, in Lagos, of abuse of office.

The commission alleged that Emefiele “directed to be done in abuse of the authority of your office, as the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, an arbitrary act, to wit: allocating foreign exchange in the aggregate sum of $2,136,391,737.33 without bids, which act is prejudicial to the rights of Nigerians.”

EFCC, further alleged that Emefiele between 2020 and 2021, in Lagos, “directed to be done in abuse of the authority of your office, as the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, an arbitrary, act to wit: allocating foreign exchange in the aggregate sum of $291,945,785.59, without bids, which act is prejudicial to the rights of Nigerians.

Emefiele was alleged to have, in 2021, in Lagos, “directed to be done in abuse of the authority of your office, as the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, an arbitrary act, to wit: special allocation of foreign exchange in the aggregate sum of $1,769,254,793.16, which act is prejudicial to the rights of Nigerians.”

In count four, the sum involved was $370,872,893.01.

Emefiele’s co-defendant Omoile was alleged to have November 17, 2020, in Lagos, whilst acting as an agent accepted from Raja Punjab through Monday Osazuwa, the total sum of $110,000, for Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, gifts as reward for allocating foreign exchange by the Central Bank in favor of Raja Punjab’s employer.”

According to the charge the offences committed contravened Section 73 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

On 30 July 2023, the President appointed Jim Obazee, Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, as a special investigator to probe the Central Bank of Nigeria and related entities.