The trial of the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, resumed before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, with the lead witness, Mr. Onyeka Ogbu, providing crucial testimony according to Vanguard News report on Monday, 12th February, 2024.
Ogbu, a Deputy Director at the CBN, responsible for branch operations testified before the court of the authorization of the huge amount.
Ogbu, identified as PW-1 in the amended 20-count charge brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against Emefiele, disclosed how the defendant approved the release of $6,230,000 to international election observers.
Ogbu, testified that upon receiving the request for payment on January 8, 2023, he processed the release of funds in accordance with due process.
He clarified that while the department he oversees does not have the authority to approve, they are responsible for payment processing.
“Ours is to make payment. We do not have the power to approve. So, having gone through the documents and satisfied, I minuted on it and sent for processing and disbursement which was complied with,” Ogbu stated.
During the identification of documents, it was however revealed that two important documents were missing, prompting the prosecution counsel to request a brief adjournment to retrieve them.
Emefiele’s defense counsel countered, suggesting an adjournment for the prosecution to organize its evidence and for proper cross-examination of the witness.
Justice Hamza Muazu subsequently adjourned the trial till the following day to continue the proceedings.
Emefiele, who had initially faced a six-count charge related to alleged complicity in a N1.2 billion procurement fraud, now faces an amended charge including criminal conspiracy, forgery, breach of trust, and bringing undue advantage on himself.
The EFCC alleges that Emefiele obtained $6.2 million through false pretense, claiming it was requested by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
He is also accused of forging documents related to foreign election observer missions and awarding contracts to companies where his wife and brother-in-law are directors and majority shareholders.
Emefiele was granted bail on November 22, 2023, under conditions including a N300 million bond and the seizure of his travel documents.