Justice A.O. Adeniyi from the High Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, has issued a current order, demanding that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) immediately release Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), from detention without any conditions.
Adeniyi issued the order following the hearing of Mr. Emefiele’s ex parte motion labeled M/122/2023, part of a case identified as FCT/HC/CV/040/2023, which was initiated by Mr. Emefiele himself.
In this suit, Mr. Emefiele, represented by his legal team, named the federal government, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the EFCC, and its chairperson, Ola Olukoyede, as respondents. He was initially detained by the State Security Service (SSS) on June 10, a day after his removal from the position of CBN governor, and was subsequently transferred to the EFCC about a week later.
In Adeniyi’s Thursday ruling, the FCT High Court judge instructed the anti-graft agency to either unconditionally release the plaintiff/applicant or, as an alternative, present him before the court on the upcoming Monday when his motion for bail will be addressed
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During the four months that Emefiele was held in SSS custody before being transferred to the EFCC, the specific offenses under investigation were not disclosed. However, in July, the SSS charged him with two counts of “illegal possession” of firearms and live ammunition, only to withdraw these charges in August.
Subsequently, based on SSS investigations, the Attorney-General of the Federation filed corruption charges totaling N6.9 billion against the former CBN chief at the FCT High Court in Abuja. However, the arraignment was rescheduled multiple times, leading to speculation about potential plea bargain discussions.
The Attorney-General, Lateef Fagbemi, denied signing any plea agreement with Mr. Emefiele earlier this month, corroborating earlier statements from the Federal Ministry of Justice. The case has not progressed in court since the failed arraignment in August.
The delay in Mr. Emefiele’s trial is attributed to the complexity of the multi-dimensional corruption cases he faces. Official details of the allegations against him remain undisclosed, with charges pending at the FCT High Court.
In this case, Mr. Emefiele, along with Sa’adatu Ramallan-Yaro, a CBN staff member, and her company, April 1616 Investment Limited, are accused of conspiracy and procurement fraud involving approximately N6.9 billion.
The charges suggest that Mr. Emefiele granted corrupt advantages to Ms. Ramallan-Yaro, utilizing her firm to execute procurement contracts for the supply of cars. These alleged corrupt transactions resulted in the purchase of a fleet of luxury vehicles and armored buses worth about N6.9 billion between 2018 and 2020.
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