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Emefiele, associates to face N6.9 billion fraud trial

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Emefiele, associates to face N6.9 billion fraud trial

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) is preparing to arraign the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and his associates on Thursday for an alleged N6.9 billion procurement fraud at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja.

Emefiele will stand trial alongside Sa’adatu Yaro, a female CBN employee, and her company, April1616 Investment Limited. The charges against them comprise 20 counts of procurement fraud, conspiracy, and conferring corrupt advantages on associates.

The charges, endorsed by the Director of Public Prosecutions at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar, along with Deputy Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs Nkiru Jones-Nebo, and eight other ministry officials, stem from the alleged acquisition of a fleet of more than 98 luxury vehicles and armored buses worth approximately N6.9 billion between 2018 and 2020.

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The accusations pivot around Emefiele’s purported use of his position as CBN Governor to award contracts to April1616 Investment Ltd., a company where Yaro holds a director position, thus conferring corrupt advantages upon her.

The charges meticulously delineate various instances wherein contracts were purportedly extended to Yaro and her company for a range of vehicles, encompassing 84 Toyota Hilux vehicles, 10 armored Mercedes Benz buses, three Toyota Landcruisers, and one Toyota Avalon car.

The alleged offenses run afoul of Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000. If the accused are found guilty, they could face imprisonment for five years, without the possibility of a fine.

According to the charges, Emefiele stands accused of awarding a contract for the supply of 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles to April1616 Investment Ltd., at the cost of N854,700,000—a company where Yaro holds a director position.

The charges also level accusations against Emefiele for conspiring to confer corrupt advantage on Yaro by bestowing contracts for the supply of vehicles and other luxury items upon her company.

Furthermore, Yaro herself faces accusations of holding a private interest as a director in April1616 Investment Ltd., knowingly profiting from contracts awarded to the company by CBN, where she is employed.

Among the items listed in the charges are 47 Toyota Hilux vehicles and 10 Mercedes Benz armored buses.

The roster of witnesses enlisted against the defendants encompasses CBN officials entangled in procurement matters, such as Stanley Alvan and Mike Agboro, among others.

Emefiele has remained in detention since his suspension on June 9, 2023. The arraignment is slated to take place on Thursday at the FCT High Court in Abuja.

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