Former Nigeria central bank governor re-arraigned on expanded corruption charges – JURIST

Nigerian authorities announced 14 additional criminal charges on Thursday against former central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele.

Emefiele was re-arraigned by Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday before Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court on a revised 20-count charge sheet. The former bank governor faces charges of corrupt advantages, conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, forgery, and obtaining money under false pretenses. Emefiele has pleaded not guilty to all 20 counts.

One notable charge accuses Emefiele of using his position as the Central Bank Governor in 2018 to award a contract for Toyota Hilux vehicles to a company linked to bank staff. Another count involves fraudulently obtaining over 6 million dollars by claiming that the president directed the Central Bank to provide an advance.

Emefiele’s legal representative raised objections to these charges, citing procedural grounds under Nigeria’s Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA). However, Justice Muazu overruled the objections, advising the defense to submit their concerns in writing, and subsequently adjourned the trial to February 12 and 13, 2024.

This re-arraignment follows Emefiele’s initial arrest last year after President Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele from his role as central bank governor, citing ongoing investigations and the need for financial sector reforms.  Despite multiple court orders for his release, Emefiele remained in custody until October and was subsequently rearrested by the EFCC in early November.

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