The suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has settled for a plea bargain following the 20-count charges filed against him by the Federal Government.
Emefiele was expected to appear in court on Wednesday, however, the suspended bank chief and his lawyer, Kehinde Akinlolu, did not attend the court sitting.
According to a report by Sunnews, Emefiele’s absence was due to a plea bargain policy he agreed to, resulting in the postponement of his scheduled arrangement on Wednesday.
He was scheduled to face charges of an alleged N6.9 billion breach of procurement laws, contract inflation, and other allegations brought against him by the government.
Prime Business Africa previously reported that some of the allegations include the purchase of a fleet of luxury vehicles and armoured buses worth N6.9 billion between 2018 and 2020.
It was further stated that during his tenure as CBN Governor, Emefiele used his position to provide undue benefits to Saadat Yaro, a former staff of the central bank and owner of April 1616 Investment Limited.
Emefiele reportedly agreed to the plea bargain alongside his co-accused, Yaro. According to Emefiele’s lawyer, the Chief Judge, Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf, will fix another arraignment date.
Recall that Emefiele was arrested on 9 June 2023 by the Department of State Service (DSS), following his suspension by President Bola Tinubu.
He was initially arrested on the grounds of financing terrorism, but the charges were later dropped and replaced with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.
The illegal possession of firearm and ammunition charge was also replaced with new 20-count charges. However, his plea bargain has stalled the trial on the fresh charges.
Meanwhile, Emefiele’s tenure as the CBN governor is also being investigated by President Tinubu’s Special Investigator, Jim Obazee.
The appointment of Obazee was disclosed in late July. The special investigator is mandated to work with security operatives and report to President Tinubu weekly.