Legal Drama: Court Grants Emefiele N20m Bail, DSS Re-arrests Him Following Confrontation with Prison Officials
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Politics - July 25, 2023

Legal Drama: Court Grants Emefiele N20m Bail, DSS Re-arrests Him Following Confrontation with Prison Officials

Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who was suspended, has been released on bail by a Federal High Court in Lagos. The bail amount set by the presiding judge, Nicholas Oweibo, is N20 million.

Judge Oweibo declared that the charges against Emefiele are eligible for bail, and he was granted bail with one surety who also had to provide a similar amount as collateral.

Emefiele had been presented before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, the vacation judge, following his arrest and detention by the Department of State Services (DSS) over six weeks ago.

Emefiele pleads not guilty

Following Emefiele’s plea of not guilty to the charges, his legal team, led by Joseph Daudu, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), presented a bail application before the court. Daudu requested that the court grant his client bail on self-recognizance or on other reasonable terms until the trial is heard and determined.

Dauda said, “There is no counter affidavit from the federal government, this is an unopposed application. He is a renowned banker and can only stay at his house. He can’t travel anywhere.’’

The prosecutor opposed Emefiele bail-release

Nevertheless, Nkiru Nebo-Jones, a deputy director of prosecution at the office of the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and counsel to the Federal Government, expressed opposition to the bail application, citing her lack of access to a copy of the document. She emphasized that the prosecution had not been granted sufficient time to respond, which is essential to uphold the principles of fair hearing enshrined in the constitution.

Furthermore, Nebo-Jones pointed out that the prosecution had gathered information indicating that the defendant’s refusal to surrender his passport suggested a potential intent to evade and abscond from the trial.

She said, “As the governor of the CBN, he is a powerful man, and can intimidate the witnesses. Granting him bail will intimidate the prosecution witnesses who have come forward to give evidence. He can evade trial based on his antecedents. We urge the court to dismiss the bail application.’’

Dauda clarifies the bail application

In the meantime, Emefiele’s lawyer, Daudu, clarified that the office of the AGF had indeed received the document of the bail application, and he provided evidence of the proof of service endorsed by the AGF’s office, which was already in the court’s file. He urged the court to put an end to the intimidation of his client by the DSS and proceed with the hearing of the bail application.

Justice Oweibo, ruling on the matter, dismissed the objections raised by the Federal Government and rejected the prosecution’s plea to defer the bail application hearing. Instead, the judge ordered that Emefiele be remanded at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre until the bail is perfected, contrary to the prosecution’s request for the defendant to be held in DSS custody for further investigation related to another potential court case.

The trial has been scheduled for November 14, 2023.

The bail conditions to be met

The judge in charge decreed that the surety must possess real estate located within the court’s jurisdiction and provide an affidavit affirming their financial capacity. Emefiele was directed to surrender his international passport to the court registry. Additionally, the judge ordered that the CBN governor be detained in the correctional center until he meets the requirements for bail.

DSS re-arrests Emefiele

On Tuesday, suspended Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, was re-arrested by operatives of the DSS following a confrontation with officials from the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS).

It was reported that the DSS took custody of Emefiele after a physical altercation with the NCS personnel. This re-arrest took place after Justice Nicholas Oweibo of the Federal High Court in Lagos granted bail to the embattled and suspended apex bank chief in the amount of N20 million.

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