May 20, 2024

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court sitting in Maitama, yesterday, granted Godwin Emefiele’s request to travel out of Abuja.

Through his lawyer, Mathew Bukka (SAN), the former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had requested for a variation of his bail conditions.

Justice Hamza Muazu had, last November 22, granted bail to the embattled banker at N300 million with two sureties in like sum.

The judge added that the sureties must have landed property in the Maitama District of the FCT.

He also ordered the CBN ex-governor not to leave the court’s jurisdiction and equally directed him to deposit his travel documents with the court.

At yesterday’s proceedings, Bukka urged the court to grant his client’s prayers.

He assured the court that Emefiele would not jump bail if the restrictions were lifted.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), did not object.

He, however, asked the court to ensure that Emefiele wrote an undertaken that he would remain in the country if his plea was granted.

The court, thereafter, ruled that the defendant must remain in the country pending conclusion of his trial.

The judge held: “The defendant’s application is hereby granted. He must remain in the country for the pendency of his trial.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has amended its charges against Emefiele from six to 20, all bordering on forgery, conferring of corrupt advantage and criminal breach of trust.

The plaintiff had initially filed 19 charges against the defendant, revolving around alleged N6.9 billion procurement fraud, but pruned it to six to the tune of N1.2 billion, which he is currently standing trial for.

In the amended charge, Emefiele is being accused of obtaining the sum of $6.2 million by pretence, by falsely representing Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

The government said the offence was contrary to Section 1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006, and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.

He was also accused of conniving with one Eric Ocheme, currently at large, to commit forgery.

The plantiff said the offence was contrary to Section 96 (1) and punishable under Section 364 of the Penal Code Law, Cap 89 Laws of the Federation, 1990.

Emefiele is also accused of conferring corrupt advantage on his wife, Omoile Margret, and brother In-law, Omoile Macombo, by awarding a contract for the renovation of a portion of the CBN Governor’s residence in Lagos to the tune of N99.8 million.

Government said the offence contravened Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Emefiele’s counsel, Bukka, pleaded with the court for time, adding that the amended charge was served on them on Wednesday.

The trial judge, Justice Muazu, adjourned the matter till today for a fresh plea to be taken.

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