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Emefiele risks 5 years jail term as Tinubu’s government sets to arraign him in court over fresh N6.9bn fraud

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The suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele may be sentenced to five years imprisonment without the option of a fine as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s government will on Thursday arraign him, and his associates for N6.9 billion procurement fraud.

According to reports, Emefiele will be arraigned at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Maitama, Abuja.

He will be arraigned alongside a female CBN employee, Sa’adatu Yaro and her company, April1616 Investment Limited on 20 charges of procurement fraud, conspiracy and conferring corrupt advantages on his associates.

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The offence is contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

The section read, “Any public officer who uses his office or position to gratify or confer any corrupt or unfair advantage upon himself or any relation or associate of the public officer or any other public officer shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for five years without an option of fine.’’

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In the charges signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar; Deputy Director, Public Prosecution, Mrs Nkiru Jones-Nebo and eight other ministry officials, the three accused persons were alleged to have bought a fleet of over 98 exotic vehicles and armoured buses valued at about N6.9bn.

Some of the vehicles bought between 2018 and 2020 included 84 Toyota Hilux vehicles, 10 armoured Mercedes Benz buses, three Toyota Landcruisers and one Toyota Avalon car.

Count one read, “That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, male, adult, sometime in 2018 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did use your position as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro, a staff member of the Central Bank of Nigeria by awarding a contract for the supply of 37 (Nos.) Toyota Hilux Vehicles at the cost of N854,700,000 only to April 1616 Investment Ltd, a company in which she is a director and thereby committed an offence.

“Statement of the offence: Conferring corrupt advantage contrary to section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.’’

The Federal Government further accused Emefiele of conspiracy to confer corrupt advantage on the second defendant contrary to sections 26 (c) and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000 and punishable under Section 19 of the same Act.

“That you, Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele, male, adult, Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro, female, adult, and April 1616 Investment Ltd, sometime in 2019 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire amongst yourselves to use the office of Mr. Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro, a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria by awarding a contract for the supply of 1 (No.) Toyota Landcruiser V8 at the cost of N73,800,000 only to April 1616 Investment Ltd,” the charge stated.

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Emefiele was said to have also conferred a corrupt advantage on Yaro by awarding a contract for the supply of one Toyota Avalon at the cost of N99.9m to her company, April1616 Investment Ltd., in 2019.

The suspended governor was also accused of awarding a contract for the supply of another Toyota Landcruiser V8 for N77.050m to the third defendant in 2018.

The ex-CBN governor was said to have conspired with Yaro to confer corrupt advantages on the CBN staffer by awarding to her a contract for the supply of two Toyota Hilux Shell specification vehicles at the cost of N44.2m sometime in 2020.

Emefiele was further alleged to have awarded another contract to Yaro and her firm for the purchase of one Toyota Landcruiser VXR valued at N96m in 2020.

Yaro was similarly accused of fraudulent acquisition of property for getting a contract from the CBN for the supply of 47 Toyota Hilux vehicles at the cost of N1,085, 700,000 and thereby committed a punishable offence.

Other counts read, “That you, Sa’adatu Rammala Yaro, female, adult, sometime in 2018 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court while being employed at the CBN knowingly held directly a private interest as director in April1616 Investment Ltd., in a contract awarded to the said company, for the supply of 47 Toyota Hilux vehicles at the cost of N1,085, 700,000 and thereby committed an offence.’’

Count 11, “That you, Sa’adatu Rammala Yaro, female, adult, sometime in 2018 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court while being employed at the CBN knowingly held directly a private interest as director in April1616 Investment Ltd., in a contract awarded to the said company, emanating from the CBN where you are employed, for the supply of 10 Mercedes Benz armoured buses at the cost of N2,222, 500,00 and thereby committed an offence.’’

Listed as witnesses against the defendants were the CBN Director of Procurement, Stanley Alvan; CBN Head of Procurement, Mike Agboro, Tahir Jafar, David Usman and “any other witnesses to be supplied later in the additional proof of evidence.’’

This follows Tuesday’s request by the federal government to withdraw the initial charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition filed against Mr Emefiele at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abubakar Mohammed, told the judge, Nicholas Oweibo, that the application for withdrawal was based on the result of more investigations conducted by the government.

The judge fixed Thursday to decide on the request which was opposed by Mr Emefiele’s legal team.

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