Court Adjourns Emefiele’s Trial To October 28

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Justice Rahman Oshodi of the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja on Wednesday adjourned the ongoing trial of former Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, over allegations of abuse of office and corruption to October 28.

The former CBN boss was arraigned before the court alongside one Herry Omoile on allegations of accepting gratification, accepting gifts through agents, corruption, and fraudulent property receipts.

The anti-graft agency also accused the defendant of conferring corrupt advantage on his associates contrary to the Corrupt Practices Act 2000.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

During Wednesday’s proceedings, Justice Oshodi dismissed objections raised by Emefiele’s lawyer, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), over the attempt of the fifth prosecution witness, Mrs Ifeoma Ogbonnaya, to copy from her telephone the number in which she used to have conversations with Margaret Emefiele.

The prosecution team led by Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) had sought the indulgence of the court for the witness to write down the number in which she used to have conversations with Mrs. Emefiele on an A4 paper and was admitted into evidence.

The witness, however, said that she could not remember some digits of the number off-hand, but she could recall it through her mobile phone.

This was vehemently opposed by the two defendants’ counsel, who argued that the witness could not get the number through her phone.

But in a short ruling, the court dismissed the objections and allowed the witness to write out the phone number from her telephone.

Also, during the proceedings, Mrs Ogbonnaya, a Business Relationship Manager with Zenith Bank Plc, told the court that Emefiele and his wife were not signatories to the accounts and companies allegedly used to obtain several contracts from the apex bank.

Ogbonnaya, who claimed that the signatories to the accounts was one Mrs. Augustina, however, insisted that Mrs. Emefiele gave her instructions through phone calls, Whatsapp chat and her official email on the operations of the accounts.

She further told the court that the transaction would not be processed until Mrs. Emefiele approved it.

The witness said, “I saved Mrs. Emefiele’s number as ‘Margo’ on my phone and she has several numbers, but I can only remember her foreign number, +447941835451.

“The phone numbers are saved on my mobile device, iPhone 11, which are for my contact, both personal and official.

The witness further told the court that instructions to banks are not oral but in writing, and before she came to court to give evidence, she had the opportunity to review the account opening of the three companies.

Ogbonnaya reiterated that Emefiele’s name and his wife’s did not appear as shareholders or signatories to the corporate accounts of the companies.

According to her: “I did not come across any document in the account opening package, that Mrs Emefiele is a direct beneficial owner of the corporate accounts of the companies.

“There is a regulatory requirement on collecting information on beneficial corporate account owners.

“There is a Know Your Customer (KYC) platform through which banks collect information on the beneficial owner of an account, but I was not involved at the initial opening.

“When the former relationship officer left, I continued the relationship based on what the previous relationship officer managed them with.”

The witness also said KYC was before the court, and financing risk assessment was part of KYC.

She also confirmed to the court that in the running of the business of banking, Zenith Banks followed guidelines as regards deposit and withdrawal of funds.

She added that there was no relationship between Emefiele and the companies.

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