HomeNewsLagos Court Throws Emefiele Back Into EFCC Custody Over $4.5bn, N2.8bn Fraud

Lagos Court Throws Emefiele Back Into EFCC Custody Over $4.5bn, N2.8bn Fraud

The Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja has ordered that former Central Bank Bank (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, be returned in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over the alleged abuse of office and $5.5 billion and N2.8 billion fraud.

Emefiele had been granted bail by an Abuja court in a similar case and attended the session from home.

He was arraigned on Monday, April 8, alongside his co-defendant, Henry Omoile, before Rahmon Oshodi, a Judge at the Ikeja high court.

The two defendants pleaded not guilty to the 26-count charges preferred against them.

Justice Rahman Oshodi then ordered that Emefiele be remanded in EFCC custody.

Meanwhile, the Judge ordered that Emefiele’s co-defendant, Henry Isioma-Omoile, should be detained at Ikoyi Custodial Centre.

The defendants counsel, Mr A. Labi-Lawal, had in his two bail applications urged the court to grant them bail on self recognition and on liberal terms pending the determination on the case.

Labi-Lawal, in his 31 affidavits, said the first defendant (Emefiele) had complied with the bail application which was given to him by Justice Muazu in his alleged fraud trial case going on in Abuja.

The former CBN Governor was specifically mentioned in counts one to four as well as counts eight to 26 bordering on alleged abuse of office, contrary and punishable under Section 73 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011; accepting gratification, contrary and punishable under Section 8 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000; corrupt demand, contrary and punishable under Section 10 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000; receiving property fraudulently obtained, contrary to and punishable under Section 328 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011; and conferring corrupt advantage, contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

Omoile was mentioned in counts five, six and seven bordering on acceptance of gifts by agents, contrary to Section 65 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

Count one: “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, between 2022 and 2023 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court, 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.”

Count two: “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, between 2020 and 2021 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court, 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.”

Count five: “That you, Henry Isioma Omoile, on or about the 17th of November 2020, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, whilst acting as an agent, accepted from Raja Punjab through Monday Osazuwa the total sum of $110,000 for Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, gifts as a reward for allocating foreign exchange by the Central Bank of Nigeria in favour of Raja Punjab’s employer.”

After the defendants pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges read to them, Prosecution Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, said: “By their plea, they have given themselves up for trial. We pray the court to grant an accelerated hearing and for us to call our witnesses to prove our case.”

Counsel representing the defendants, A. Labi-Lawal, informed the court of the bail applications for the defendants, which he said had been served on the prosecution.

Moving the bail application for Emefiele, he urged the court to grant him bail “on self-recognisance” or “on the most liberal terms”, pending the hearing and determination of the case.

In his argument, he gave a background to the case involving Emefiele, being prosecuted by the EFCC, before Justice Muazu of a Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court.

He also informed the court that the court granted Emefiele bail in the sum of N300 million and two sureties in like sum, which he said Emefiele had met.

Labi-Lawal added that the bail condition confining him to Abuja, pending the trial in Abuja, was later varied, adding:  “This is what has enabled him to be in court today. The offence is a bailable one and is not a capital offence. The defendant does not have any criminal record; and his antecedent, at the other matter, where he has dutifully attended trial, shows that he is not a flight risk.”

He further prayed the court that Emefiele “be released to his lawyers pending determination of the bail application”, so he could still attend to other charges against him.

Moving the bail application for the second defendant, he urged the court to grant him bail on most liberal terms pending the hearing and determination of the case.

Thereafter, Justice Oshodi adjourned till April 11, 2024 “for ruling on bail and trial.”

He also ordered that Emefiele be remanded in the EFCC custody, and the second defendant at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre.

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