Emefiele Entangled in N97.9m Contract Scandal, EFCC Investigates

Emefiele Entangled in N97.9m Contract Scandal, EFCC Investigates
Godwin Emefiele

During a court session at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama on Monday, an Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness, Agboro Omowera, revealed that ten officials from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), including its erstwhile governor, Godwin Emefiele, were involved in the process of awarding substantial contracts to April 1616 and Architekon Nigeria Limited.

The EFCC has charged Emefiele with exploiting his official position to unduly favor his wife, Margret, and his brother-in-law by sanctioning a total payment of N97.9m to Architekon Nigeria Ltd, a company where both held directorial positions.

The funds in question, according to the EFCC, were allocated for the provision of office furnishings to the CBN.

The testimony came from the investigation’s seventh witness, who, under the scrutiny of Mathew Burkaa (SAN), the defendant’s lawyer, clarified that the decision-making process for these contracts involved ten individuals.

Highlighting Emefiele’s ultimate responsibility, the witness asserted, “Ten persons acted on the documents awarding these contracts. There are 10 minutes and one approval, so one person takes the responsibility. He (Emefiele) is the head of the CBN and the buck stops at his table.”

When questioned by Burkaa regarding whether Emefiele personally benefited corruptly, the witness denied it, explaining, “No. Why I said no is because we limited our investigation to his relatives and associates and not him.”

Omowera, under the guidance of EFCC’s counsel Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), further informed the court that the inquiry revealed Emefiele bestowed undue advantages on Architekon Nigeria Limited and April 1616.

He disclosed that Margaret Omoyile, Emefiele’s wife, was a director at Architekon Nigeria Limited, using her maiden name for the company’s registration.

The investigation also uncovered that a CBN employee, Sa`adatu Yaro, was a director at April 1616 Investment Ltd, which was awarded numerous contracts for supplying over 45 Toyota Hilux vehicles, with values ranging from N854,700,000 to N99,900,000.

Omowera detailed how the team, which included members from various agencies like the Department of State Services, noted that only the company associated with Yaro was favored by the CBN, despite her husband owning other businesses.

“In the second company, April 1616 Investment Limited, we also discovered that one of the directors of that company by name, Sahadatu Ramalan Yaro, was a director of April 1616 Investment. We discovered that the company was incorporated a few days after her employment with the CBN and she was posted to CBN Lagos office. In 2018, the company started to enjoy the patronage of the CBN in the procurement of particular vehicles, Toyota branded motors. My Lord, we were curious as investigators, how it was possible for a company that has no track record to continually win bids against Toyota-accredited bids. We tried to confirm whether this company was accredited by Toyota and to our surprise, it was not among the accredited bidders,” Omowera stated.

The court, presided over by Judge Hamza Muazu, postponed the trial to April 25 for further proceedings.

The PUNCH noted that on February 10, the EFCC had issued a wanted notice for Emefiele’s wife and three others, alleging their conspiracy with the former CBN governor in misappropriating significant amounts of the Nigerian Federal Government’s funds.

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