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Court grants ex-CBN Gov, Emefiele, permission to travel outside Abuja

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CHIGOZIE IKPO, Abuja

 

An FCT High Court, sitting at Maitama, Abuja, on Thursday granted the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, permission to travel outside Abuja.

Justice Hamza Muazu granted this request in variation of the bail condition earlier granted to Emefiele.

The court, in November granted Emefiele bail in the sum of N300 million with two sureties in like sum.

Justice Muazu had ordered that each of the sureties must possess landed property worth N300 million within the court’s jurisdiction, with Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), which must be deposited with the court registrar, who will have to verify the property.

In addition, Emefiele was ordered to deposit his travel documents with the court and remain in Abuja during the period of the trial.

However, at Thursday’s proceedings, counsel to Emefiele, Matthew Burkaa (SAN), informed the Court that the defendant filed a motion dated January 10 seeking variation of the bail condition to enable him travel within the country and urged the court to vary the condition for his client.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, did not object to the application but rather urged the court to ensure that the defendant remains within the country while his trial lasts.

He further requested that the defence team signs an undertaking, that their client will remain in the country as they stated.

Justice Muazu, in a rulling, granted the request and ordered that Emefiele should remain within Nigeria for the period of his trial.

Meanwhile, Oyedepo informed the court that the EFCC, had on January 16, filed an amended charge against Emefiele and urged that the defendant be allowed to take his plea for the new charge.

Burkaa, however, told the court that the defence was served the new charge on Wednesday and needed time to study it.

Based on the development, the court adjourned sitting till January 19 for the new charge to be taken.

Emefiele was arraigned before the court on November 17, 2023, on a six-count charge bordering on conferring advantage on a female staff member of CBN, contrary to the provision of Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

In the charge marked CR/577/2023, Emefiele was accused of using his position as CBN governor to award six different contracts to one Sa’adatu Ramalan Yero, a CBN staff member, between 2018 and 2020 to the tune of N1,210,600,000.

The procurement contracts were awarded to a company in which the said Sa’adatu Ramalan Yero is a director.

Emefiele, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

 

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