Alleged N6.9bn Fraud: Again, Emefiele’s Arraignment Stalled As Court Fails To List Case
Legal Battle Unfolds: Suspended CBN Governor Faces Setbacks in N6.9 Billion Fraud Case
In a turn of events that continues to capture national attention, the eagerly anticipated arraignment of Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on charges of alleged N6.9 billion procurement fraud, has encountered yet another setback.
Initially scheduled for August 17, the proceedings were abruptly postponed due to the unexpected absence of the second defendant, Sa’adatu Yaro. Yaro, an employee of CBN, was reported to be unwell, preventing her attendance in court on that day.
Presiding over the case, Justice Hamza Muazu, adjourned the proceedings to August 23 in order to facilitate the formal arraignment of both defendants.
However, the case was not listed on the court’s cause list for today. Neither the suspended CBN governor nor the second defendant was present in court.
The charges pertain not only to Emefiele but also involve Sa’adatu Yaro and a corporate entity named April1616 Investment Ltd. The Federal Ministry of Justice has lodged a fresh 20-count charge against these parties, including allegations of conspiracy and procurement fraud, among others.
Adding a layer of complexity to the situation, Emefiele has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since June, following his arrest.
On July 25, he faced a separate two-count charge related to the “illegal possession” of firearms. This led to his appearance in a federal high court in Ikoyi, where he was subsequently granted bail set at N20 million.
Presiding Judge Nicholas Oweibo ordered Emefiele’s confinement under the supervision of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCoS) until the bail conditions were met.
However, a contentious tug-of-war between the DSS and prison officials ensued as the DSS insisted on retaining custody of Emefiele. This tug-of-war culminated in the DSS re-arresting Emefiele right within the court premises.
Subsequently, on August 3, the federal government filed an application seeking permission to appeal the bail order granted to Emefiele. In a surprising turn, on August 15, the government made an oral plea to withdraw the charge of “illegal possession of firearms” against Emefiele.
This decision was anchored in constitutional provisions, including sections 174 (1) and (3) of the 1999 constitution and sections 108 (1), (2), and (4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
A significant development occurred on August 17 when the court acceded to the federal government’s application, leading to the formal striking out of the “illegal possession of firearms” charge against Emefiele.
As the nation watches with bated breath, the legal proceedings involving the suspended CBN governor and his co-defendants remain enveloped in uncertainty and intrigue. Stay tuned for further updates as this high-profile case continues to unfold.