Emefiele awarded contracts to his wife, brother-in-law, witness tells court

Michael Agboro, a prosecution seventh witness, has alleged that the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, awarded contracts to companies belonging to his wife and his brother-in-law.

The former CBN governor is standing trial on an alleged 20-count amended charge that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) preferred against him before the Maitama Division of the FCT High Court.

He allegedly engaged in criminal breach of trust, forgery, conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and obtaining money by false pretence when he served as the apex bank’s boss.

The EFCC alleged that the former CBN boss forged a document titled: Re: Presidential Directive on Foreign Election Observer Missions dated January 26, 2023, with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201 purported the same to have emanated from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (AGF).

He is also accused of using his office as CBN governor to confer an unfair and corrupt advantage on two companies, “April 1616 Nigeria Ltd and Architekon Nigeria Ltd.”

Agboro, an investigator with the Independent, Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) who testified earlier, was cross-examined further by Mr Emefiele’s counsel, Mathew Burkaa (SAN).

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When asked if the defendant conferred unfair and corrupt advantage on himself, he answered, ”He conferred on Saadatu Yaro, who is a public officer working under him. He also conferred on his wife and brother-in-law.”

When asked if Emefiele alone could award and approve contracts, he answered that the defendant approved the contracts.
If there was no difference between CBN and Emefiele, the witness said, ”The difference is that the defendant was an employee of CBN.”

When asked if the defendant was a member of the tender’s board or procurement department, he said he did not know.

”We limited our investigation to him, his wife, relatives and associates.

”Our findings revealed that the defendant was not a director, shareholder, or an account signatory in either April 1616 limited or Architekon Nigeria limited,” he said.

Agboro also admitted that there was no evidence of any payment made to Emefiele by these companies while performing his duties at the CBN.

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Also, when asked if, during their investigation, they interviewed people in the CBN to determine whether the two firms executed the jobs they were contracted to do, the witness said “yes”.

However, when asked if the team stated this fact in their final report, the witness said he could not recall if they did.

Agboro, led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, on March 11, tendered several documents, including company registration documents and an award, as well as payments for contracts relating to the two forms.

He added that documents his team, comprising persons drawn from the ICPC, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), and the State Security Service (SSS), showed that while a director of ”April 1616,” Mr Yaro, is a public officer with the CBN, Mr Emefiele’s wife, Margaret Omoyile, and his brother-in-law, Mac Congo, were directors in Architekon.

Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned the matter until Tuesday for re-examination of the witness.

(NAN)

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