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Emefiele: Witness Says CBN Officials Demanded $600,000 Bribe To Process Payment Of Executed Contract

 Olushola Bello

While I was a director with the CBN, my loyalty was to the bank and the Nigerian nation and my relationship with Emefiele was only formal and based on instructions.

“I was not happy being unpopular with the former CBN governor but on a number of occasions, I signed contract letters to vendors.

“While I was a director with the CBN, my loyalty was to the bank and the Nigerian nation and my relationship with Emefiele was only formal and based on instructions.

EFCC had on April 8 arraigned Emefiele on a 23-count charge bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, corrupt demand, receiving property fraudulently obtained and conferring corrupt advantage.

A witness, Victor Onyejiuwa, has testified against the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, in his trial over alleged abuse of office and accepting of gratification to the tune of $4.5bn and N2.8bn.

A report by the Channels Television said Onyejiuwa, the Managing Director of The Source Computers Limited, said he was allegedly pressurised by the management of CBN to pay the sum of $600,000 for the payment of contract which he had executed.

This was the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has tendered more documents against Emefiele on Thursday.

The bundles of documents were tendered through the third prosecution witness, a compliance officer with Zenith Bank, Mr Clement Ngolu, by EFCC Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN).

The documents were admitted into evidence with no objections from the defence team.

Justice Rahman Oshodi admitted the original copies of Zenith Bank account opening package and statement of accounts of Limelight Multidimensional Services Ltd.

Ngolu, in his evidence-in-chief, said his department responded to enquiries from regulators and law enforcement agencies to ensure that the bank activities were in line with bank’s policies and regulations.

He added that his department worked with agencies like EFCC, Nigeria Police, ICPC and NSCDC.

The witness said that sometime in 2014, his department got a request from EFCC to furnish the agency with statements of accounts of the limelight and two other accounts and we duly furnished them with the request.

“The documents we sent to EFCC was duly signed by staff of the bank.

“The process of generating the statement was through our computer system which was in good condition as at the time.

“The documents were printed out from the company’s computer which was working well and the documents are in the bank’s custody,” the witness said.

The defence had no question for the witness.

The prosecution swiftly called its fourth witness, an IT contractor. He tesfied that he was allegedly pressurized by the management of CBN to pay the sum of $600,000 for the payment of contract which he had executed.

The witness said his company was awarded at least five contracts within the stipulated period.

He added that sometime in 2017, his company was awarded an “enterprise storage and servers” contract by the CBN.

The contractor said after the contract was executed by his company, he was approached by John Ikechukwu Ayoh, a former director at the Central Bank of Nigeria, that the “management needs something” from the contract.

The managing director said Ayoh told him that if he did not accede, the funds meant for the contract would be deployed by the apex bank.

The court also listened to the conclusion of the evidence of John Ayoh who testified as the second prosecution witness.

At his last testimony, Ayoh had narrated before the court how he collected $600,000 as contract gratification allegedly on behalf of the former CBN Governor.

In his testimony today, the witness claimed that he was sidelined by the former CBN governor.

According to him: “I was not happy being unpopular with the former CBN governor but on a number of occasions, I signed contract letters to vendors.

“While I was a director with the CBN, my loyalty was to the bank and the Nigerian nation and my relationship with Emefiele was only formal and based on instructions.

“The governor and the four deputy governors of the bank alongside the directors makes up the management of the CBN”, he testified.

EFCC had on April 8 arraigned Emefiele on a 23-count charge bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, corrupt demand, receiving property fraudulently obtained and conferring corrupt advantage, while his co-defendant was arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on acceptance of gift by agents.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The judge has adjourned the case until May 17 for the continuation of trial.

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