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Emefiele regains freedom, meets bail conditions

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Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has been released after meeting the bail conditions granted him by the court.

Emefiele, who arrived at the Lagos High Court, Ikeja in custody of operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday, left for his home after the court proceedings.

Justice Rahman Oshodi, who ruled on his bail application, admitted him to bail in the sum of N50m with two sureties in like sum.

Shortly after the court granted him bail, trial started with the EFCC calling its first prosecution witness.

The witness, a staff of the CBN, Monday Osazuwa, told the court how the former apex bank’s governor on different occasions, directed him to collect the sum of $3 million cash in tranches.

Led-in-evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the witness narrated to the court how he served as a dispatch rider in Zenith Bank, after which he joined the apex bank as well as the many errands he ran for the former CBN governor.

He said: “I joined the CBN in 2014 as a contract staff and became staff in 2015. I knew the first defendant when he was a Deputy Director of Zenith Bank, and he later became Director. I worked with him since then.

“I was still working in the governor’s office while I was appointed as a full staff, and we usually communicate through WhatsApp and Emails. I performed as a senior supervisor, recording and filing with other official roles”.

He also testified that sometime in 2020, the first defendant sent him on errand.

“When he called me, he directed that I should call a businessman who gave me $1 million dollars on his behalf. Some weeks later, the first defendant also called me that I should meet the man and he gave me $850,000, $750,000 and $400,000 cash in tranches”.

Osazuwa further confirmed to the court that he knew Dumies Oil and Gas Limited while he was in Zenith Bank Plc. He added that that former CBN governor, who was also the Managing Director of the company, always sent him to collect cheques from one Mr. Monday.

The witness told the court that he always logged the money into the account of Dumies on the order of Emefiele.

When he was asked where the second defendant resides, he responded that Henry Isioma Omoile lived in the residence of the former CBN governor.

He said: “Whenever I receive the money and take it to the residence of Mr Emefiele. He always tells me to give it to the second defendant whenever he was not at home.

“I did not keep record of transactions because the instruction he gave me was that, I should collect the money and bring the money to his house. The highest amount I collected is $1 million all in cash.

“He has never for one day said take this. I have never been rewarded, paid or given anything because I am doing it out of faithfulness and he knows I am faithful to him”.

The witness was cross-examined by the defendant’s counsel, Abdulakeem Labi-Lawal.

The witness confirmed to the court that he had been working with the defendant since 2002 but he could not say the precise number of years or months he had seen the second defendant.

Osazuwa said that he was sure that Omoile had been living in Emefiele’s house for some months.

He affirmed that Emefiele passed instructions to him through the second defendant and that he had been collecting cheques for Dumies Oil and Gas.

“I started collect collecting cheques for Dummies Oil and Gas when I was in Zenith Bank. I cannot calculate the exact year I have been collecting the cheques but it all started when the first defendant was the MD at Zenith Bank and I was working at Zenith Bank Plc”.

The witness told the court that when he was made to confront the second defendant during investigation, the second defendant did not admit that instructions were passed through him.

Before the witness testified, Justice Oshodi turned down a request for adjournment made by the defence counsel.

He ruled that the request for adjournment was unjustified.

The court has adjourned to April 29 for continuation of trial and for hearing of some applications requesting a closed session for some of the prosecution’s witnesses.

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