Business News

Emefiele spends N370 million on bail in nine months amid multiple charges 

Godwin Emefiele, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has likely spent not less than N370 million on bail over the past nine months. 

Emefiele is dealing with court cases in Abuja and Lagos. He was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) since his suspension by President Bola Tinubu in June 2023. 

His situation highlights a significant scrutiny by law enforcement agencies and has captured the public’s attention due to the high-profile nature of the allegations and the roles involved. 

The first bail for Emefiele began in July 2023, when the Federal High Court in Lagos State granted him bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety. He was granted bail after pleading not guilty to the two counts bordering on the alleged illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. There was drama at the Federal High Court in Lagos as operatives of the DSS and officials of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) engaged in physical confrontation at the court premises over who should take custody of Emefiele. 

Eventually, the embattled former CBN governor was reportedly released by the DSS and subsequently picked up by the EFCC. 

On August 17, the Federal Government withdrew the two-count charge, resulting in its subsequent dismissal. However, an additional 20 charges were brought against him, alleging that he conspired to engage in procurement fraud and other illegal activities.  

On September 22, the CBN officially confirmed Emefiele’s resignation, after Olayemi Cardoso was appointed as substantive governor of the apex bank.  

In November 2023, the Abuja High Court in Maitama granted Emefiele bail. Justice Olukayode Adeniyi presided over this initial hearing, where Emefiele was handed over to his legal team. 

Importantly, the court imposed non-monetary conditions for his bail, requiring Emefiele to surrender his international passport and guarantee his presence in court as needed. 

This development came after Emefiele had been in custody since June 10, facing charges of procurement fraud, which had been stalled since August due to logistical issues with his presentation in court by the Department of State Services (DSS). 

Emefiele had been held in custody since June 10, facing charges of procurement fraud. However, his trial came to a standstill in August when the DSS failed to bring him to court for his plea. Meanwhile, he was first arrested by the DSS, but the EFCC later claimed that he had been in their custody for a week. 

Justice Olukayode Adegbola Adeniyi, who granted the bail, said Emefiele had stayed in the government’s custody beyond the time stipulated by law. The fact that the Federal Government had finalised its investigation into the allegations against the former CBN Chief and had even readied the charges by August this year formed the basis for the Judge’s decision. 

Another legal challenge for Emefiele unfolded in November 2023 when Justice Hamza Muazu of the FCT High Court set a bail at N300 million. 

The conditions attached to this bail were notably stringent: Emefiele was required to provide two sureties owning properties in the upscale Maitama District, with valid certificates of occupancy. 

Around that time, the former CBN chief faced increased pressure as the Special Investigator, Jim Obazee, accused him and others of embezzling billions of naira and committing various financial offences.  

In a report presented by Obazee to President Bola Tinubu on December 9, 2023, Emefiele, who served as the CBN governor from June 2014 to June 2023, is accused of involvement in fraudulent cash withdrawals amounting to $6.23 million. 

In a report presented by Obazee to President Bola Tinubu on December 9, 2023, Emefiele, who served as the CBN governor from June 2014 to June 2023, is accused of involvement in fraudulent cash withdrawals amounting to $6.23 million. 

Additionally, he is alleged to have committed fraud in the redesign of the naira, among other offences.  

For this case, the original charge, which was 20 counts with a sum totalling N6.5 billion, was reduced to six, to the tune of N1.6 billion. Emefiele is the only defendant in the new charge. According to the amended charge sheet, the charges still border on procurement fraud. The Federal Government alleged that Emefiele illegally bought 43 vehicles between 2018 and 2020 worth N1.2 billion. He was also accused of awarding a contract for the procurement of 37 Toyota Hilux Vehicles valued at N854 million. 

The bail condition underscored the gravity of the charges he faced and kept him in Kuje Prison until he could meet these terms. It took the former CBN boss about one month to fulfil the bail conditions. 

Further compounding his legal troubles, a Lagos High Court in Ikeja set Emefiele’s bail at N50 million in April 2024. Presided over by Judge Rahmon Oshodi, this session addressed new charges of office misuse against the former bank chief. The bail conditions mirrored those of his previous hearings, with the requirement for two sureties for the same amount.