Fraud: Emefiele Approved N198m Contracts For His Wife – Witness Tells Court

169

An investigator with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) Agboro Omowera, on Monday, told a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, Abuja that 10 officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), including a former Governor, Godwin Emefiele, minuted the documents for the award of multi-million contracts to April 1616 and Architekon Nigeria Limited.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had accused Emefiele of using his position to confer a corrupt advantage on his wife, Margaret, and brother-in-law by approving the payment of the total sum of N97.9m in favour of Architekon Nigeria Ltd, where the duo are directors for the supply of office furniture to the CBN.

He was also accused of awarding a contract for the external renovation of the CBN Governor’s residence in Lagos in the sum of N99.8m to the company.

The investigator, who is the seventh prosecution witness, while being cross-examined by the defendant’s counsel, Mathew Burkaa (SAN), stated that 10 persons acted on the documents with which the contracts were awarded.

But Omowera added that the buck stops on Emefiele’s table being the CBN governor at the time.

He said, “10 persons acted on the documents awarding these contracts.

“There are 10 minutes and one approval, so one person takes responsibility.

“He (Emefiele) is the head of the CBN and the buck stops on his table.”

Burkaa, also asked the witness if Emefiele conferred a corrupt advantage on himself.

The witness said, “No. Why I said no is because we limited our investigation to his relatives and associates and not him.”

Earlier, Omowera while being led in evidence by the counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), told the court that the findings of his investigations showed that Emefiele conferred a corrupt and unfair advantage on Architekon Nigeria Limited and April 1616.

According to him, Emefiele’s wife, Margaret Omoyile, is listed as a director of Archtekon Nigeria Limited.

He added that Emefiele’s wife used her maiden name to register the company.

Omowera also said that a staff member of the CBN, Sa’adatu Yaro, is listed as the Director of April 1616 Investment Limited.

According to him, the company was awarded several contracts for the supply of over 45 Toyota Hilux Vehicles ranging from N854,700,000 to N99,900,000.

He added that his investigative team comprising of different agencies including the Department of State Services, also found out that Yaro’s husband had other companies but they were not patronised by CBN except the one in which the wife was a director.

Omowera said, “In the second company, April 1616 Investment Limited, we also discovered that one of the directors of that company by name, Sahadatu Ramalan Yaro, was a director of April 1616 Investment.”

“We discovered that the company was incorporated a few days after her employment with the CBN and she was posted to the CBN Lagos office.

“In 2018, the company started to enjoy the patronage of the CBN in the procurement of particular vehicles, Toyota branded motors.

“During the period, this company was awarded about 45 different contracts.

“My lord, we were curious as investigators, how it was possible for a company that has no track record to continually win bids against Toyota-accredited bids.

“We tried to confirm whether this company was accredited by Toyota and to our surprise, it was not among the accredited bidders.”

The trial judge, Hamza Muazu, subsequently adjourned the matter till April 25 for the continuation of the trial.

Recall that on February 10, the EFCC declared Emefeile’s wife and three others wanted for allegedly conspiring with the former CBN governor to steal huge sums of money belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The EFCC had alleged that on February 8, 2023, a former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, connived with one Odoh Ocheme, who is now on the run, to obtain $6.2m from the CBN, claiming that it was requested by the SGF “via a letter dated 26th January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/.”

Emefiele has been charged by the Federal Government to court for trials, following his sack as CBN governor in June 2023.

An initial six-count charge levelled against him was revised and expanded to 20 counts on January 18.

Among the charges, Emefiele is being accused of criminal breach of trust, forgery, conspiracy to conduct forgery, procurement fraud, and conspiracy to commit a felony in the amendment.

Comments are closed.