In a new development that has sent shockwaves through the financial and political spheres, the suspended Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, is set to be arraigned before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday. The Federal Government is bringing forth a fresh 20-count charge against Emefiele, centering on allegations of procurement fraud.
Emefiele, who has been under suspension, will stand trial for alleged involvement in a staggering N6.9 billion procurement fraud scheme. Alongside him, a female employee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sa’adatu Yaro, and her company, April 1616 Investment Limited, will also be arraigned as co-accused in the case.
This development follows the abrupt withdrawal of a previously filed charge of “illegal possession of firearms” against Emefiele by the federal government. The earlier charge was dropped before the Federal High Court in Lagos just a day prior to the announcement of these fresh allegations.
The charges against Emefiele and his co-accused include conspiracy, corrupt practices, and conferring corrupt advantages on associates, in violation of Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000. If found guilty, this offense carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment, with no possibility of a fine.
The accused parties are alleged to have orchestrated a series of transactions that involved the purchase of an astounding 98 luxury vehicles and armored buses, valued at N6.9 billion. This extravagant procurement spree reportedly took place over a span of two years, from 2018 to 2020. The fleet included 84 Toyota Hilux vehicles, three Toyota Land Cruisers, one Toyota Avalon, and 10 armored Mercedes Benz buses.
Notably, Emefiele has been in detention since his suspension by President Bola Tinubu on June 9. Prior to these charges, he had already faced an arraignment before the Federal High Court in Lagos in connection to the alleged possession of illegal firearms.
The impending trial promises to cast a spotlight on the intersection of financial governance, legal proceedings, and the intricate web of high-stakes financial transactions. As this unfolding drama grips the nation’s attention, all eyes will be on the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday, where the suspended CBN governor and his co-defendants will face the weight of these grave allegations.