CBN Official Testifies In Emefiele’s Trial Over $6.2M Payment For Foreign Election Observers

In a Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama, Onyeka Ogbu, Deputy Director of Branch Operations at the Central Bank of Nigeria, affirmed on Monday that he was aware of a $6.2 million payment request for international election observers. 

The former Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, is facing trial on 20 amended charges, including criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage, and breach of trust, as filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Emefiele is accused of impersonating the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to illicitly obtain $6.2 million. 

The EFCC alleges that he forged a document titled “Re: Presidential directive on foreign election observer missions” on January 26, 2023, with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201.

During the proceedings, Ogbu, the prosecution witness, disclosed that the payment request was made on January 8, 2023. 

After reviewing the documents, he approved the disbursement, which was subsequently executed.

“On January 8, 2023, a request for payment of $6,230,000 was brought to my attention by the Banking Services department. 

Having gone through the documents and satisfied, I minuted on it and sent for processing and disbursement which was complied with,” Ogbu stated.

However, certain pages were missing from the identified documents, prompting the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), to request a temporary halt for addressing the issue.

 The defendant’s counsel, Matthew Burkaa (SAN), objected, suggesting an adjournment to allow the prosecution to obtain all certified true copies and facilitate the cross-examination of the witness.

Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned the trial until Tuesday for its continuation

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