In a dramatic turn of events, the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, visibly cried during his appearance at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on Thursday, as the case was adjourned till August 23.
The court session, set to address the alleged N6.9 billion procurement fraud charges against Emefiele, took an unexpected twist as the arraignment faced yet another hurdle.
While Emefiele, as the first defendant, appeared before the court on Thursday, the absence of the second defendant, Sa’adatu Yaro, a female CBN employee, stalled the proceedings. Yaro, who was reported to be indisposed, was nowhere to be found in the courtroom.
This unexpected turn of events led to an application for adjournment, subsequently granted by the Presiding Judge, Justice Hamza Muazu. The case, which was originally scheduled to proceed, was postponed to 23 August 2023.
The charges against Emefiele, along with Yaro and her company, April 1616 Investment Limited, comprise a range of allegations including procurement fraud, conspiracy, and the alleged granting of corrupt advantages to associates.
The accusations stem from the purchase of a fleet of luxury vehicles and armored buses worth N6.9 billion between 2018 and 2020. The charges claim that Emefiele, during his tenure as CBN Governor, used his position to provide undue benefits to Yaro and her company.
Emefiele, who has been in detention since his suspension on June 9, 2023, faced the court’s accusations of conferring corrupt advantages on Yaro, who holds a directorial position at April 1616 Investment Ltd. The charges were brought forth under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
The legal documents detail instances where Emefiele and Yaro allegedly conspired to award contracts for luxury vehicles to Yaro’s company. Among the cited examples are contracts for the supply of various high-end vehicles, including Toyota Hilux vans, armored Mercedes Benz buses, and Toyota Landcruisers.
Amid these accusations, Emefiele’s emotional appearance in court drew attention to the gravity of the situation. The delay caused by the absence of the second defendant further added to the air of suspense surrounding the case.