Ohanaeze youths call on Tinubu to end Emefiele’s illegal detention

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Ohanaeze Youths Movement, a socio-cultural group, has urged President Bola Ahmed Bola to cease what it calls the ongoing illegal imprisonment of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and to execute the existing Court decision on his release.

The trial of Emefiele began last Tuesday in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja, with three witnesses exonerating him of misconduct in the award of N1.2bn car supply contracts by CBN under him.

In a joint statement signed by its founders, Obe Agu and Nwabueze Obi, the organization said Emefiele’s exoneration by witnesses from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the court was obvious evidence that he was being hounded rather than prosecuted.

As a result, the organization demanded Emefiele’s release and a thorough prosecution.

“Emefiele was put on trial by the Federal Government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on six counts relating to alleged procurement procedure violations in the award of the contract to April1616 Investment Limited,” according to the statement. The first prosecution witness stated at the start of the trial that Emefiele was neither the owner or shareholder of April1616 Investment Limited, which was given the N1.2bn vehicle supply contract by CBN under Emefiele’s name.

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“The witness, Samsideen Romanus, a top official of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), gave evidence on how the company was incorporated on August 1, 2016, and tendered several documents on how the company was floated,” the court said. He gave out to the Court the names of the company’s shareholders, who included Aminu Idris Yaro, Maryam Aliyu Abdullahi, and Saadatu Ramalan Yaro as joint owners. While submitting many documents on how the firm was incorporated on August 1, 2016, Romanus, who was lead in evidence by EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, said Emefiele’s name was not in any way related with the company.

“The witness explained that, while CAC was responsible for the company’s incorporation, it has no role in the entity’s day-to-day operations.” The second witness, Remigious Ugwu, a Compliance Officer with Zenith Bank, told the court how the CBN paid various sums of money totaling millions of naira into the April1616 Investment Limited. He specifically told Justice Hamza Muazu how CBN paid N39,060,465 to the same firm on October 19, 2020, another N421,953,488 on November 6, 2020, and a third N304,883,720 on November 23, 2020. He admitted that none of the payments were linked to Emefiele’s name, but said that he had no idea what the funds were for.

“The witness, who presented various documents on behalf of the bank, stated that the former CBN governor was not a signatory to the company’s bank account.” The third witness, Oluwole Owoeye, a Deputy Director, Banking Services with the CBN and former Secretary to the CBN’s Major Contract Tendering Committee (MCTC), stated that his organization was in charge of ensuring compliance with the Procurement Act in contract awarding. Owoeye, on the other hand, informed the court that his committee was not involved in the vetting of bids for the award of contracts that led to Emefiele’s conviction. The witness explained that the bidding was handled by another committee since it exceeded the threshold of his own committee. These witnesses’ testimony are compelling evidence that Emefiele was being witch-hunted.”

 

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