Naira Printing Fraud: Emefiele Pleads Not Guilty, Secures N300m Bail

0 348

Sacked former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has pleaded not guilty to the allegation that he unlawfully printed Naira Notes while he held sway at the apex bank.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleged that Emefiele had without authorization from former President Muhammadu Buhari, printed N684million Notes with the total sum of N18.96billion.

Besides, the anti-graft agency accused the former CBN boss of unlawfully approving the withdrawal of about N124.8bn from the consolidated revenue fund.

According to the EFCC, the defendant, acting in violation of law and “with intent to cause injury to the public,” okayed the printing of naira notes without the approval of both former President Buhari and the board of the CBN.

However, when the four-count charge was read to the defendant before trial Justice Maryann Anenih of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, he pleaded his innocence to the allegation.

While the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, requested for a date for the commencement of full hearing in the matter, the defendant, through his team of lawyers led by Mr. Mahmud Magaji, prayed the court to allow him to go home on bail, pending the determination of the case against him.

Magaji, SAN, urged the court to either grant his client bail on self recognition, or to adopt previous conditions that were handed to him by Justice Hamza Muazu, who is presiding over another charge that is pending against him before the same high court.

He assured that his client would always be available to attend his trial, noting that the charge contained bailable offences.

In her ruling, Justice Anenih said she was minded to accede to the defendant’s request for bail.

Consequently, she granted him bail to the tune of N300m, with two sureties in the like sum.

The court maintained that the sureties must not only be resident in Nigeria, but owners of landed properties within the Maitama district of Abuja.

More so, the court stressed that the sureties must deposit an affidavit of means, even as it ordered the defendant to surrender his international passport.

The court warned that the former CBN Governor must not travel out of the country without permission.

It held that he should be remanded at Kuje prison, pending the perfection of all the bail conditions.

The case was subsequently adjourned to May 28 and 29 for the commencement of trial.

Specifically, the charge against the former CBN Governor, read: “That you Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of N375,520,000.00 pieces of colour swapped N1, 000, at the total cost of N11,052, 068,062 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.

“That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, between the 19th of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, by approving the printing of 172,000,000 pieces of colour swapped N500 (Five Hundred Naira) Notes, at the total cost of N4, 471,066,040 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.

“That you Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of 137,070,000 pieces of colour swapped N200 (Two Hundred Naira) Note, at the total cost of N3, 441, 005, 280 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.

“That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, on or about the 7th day of October 2020, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 80 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), by approving the withdrawal of the total sum of N124, 860, 227, 865.16 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in a manner not prescribed by the National Assembly, which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

It will be recalled that President Bola Tinubu had on June 9, 2023, suspended Emefiele from office as the head of the apex bank.

He was later arrested at his Lagos residence by DSS operatives.

The former CBN boss was subsequently transferred to the custody of the EFCC, which on November 28, 2023, docked him on a six-count charge that bordered on his alleged involvement in procurement fraud.

Although Emefiele, who initially spent 151 days in custody of security agencies, was later granted bail to the tune of N300million and ordered to produce two sureties that the trial court stressed must be Abuja residents that have landed property within the Maitama District, the defendant could not perfect the conditions till December 23, 2023, when he was released from Kuje prison where he spent about 34 days.

Emefiele had since then, faced various charges, both in Abuja and Lagos.