A Deputy Director in charge of Branch Operations at the Central Bank of Nigeria, Onyeka Ogbu, confirmed in court on Monday that he was aware of a $6.2 million payment request for international election observers. This revelation came during the trial of Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the bank, who is facing charges of criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage, and breach of trust among other offenses.
Emefiele is accused of impersonating the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to illegally obtain $6.2 million. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleges that Emefiele forged a document titled “Re: Presidential directive on foreign election observer missions” dated January 26, 2023.
During the court proceedings, Ogbu, the prosecution witness, stated that the payment request was made on January 8, 2023. He confirmed that he reviewed the documents and subsequently approved the disbursement of funds, which was then executed.
The witness’s testimony shed light on the timeline of events and the processing of the payment. However, certain pages of the documents were reported to be absent, leading the prosecution counsel to request a temporary halt to address the missing pages.
Emefiele’s defense counsel objected to the request, stating that the prosecution should be bound by the evidence presented in the documents. The defense proposed adjournment to allow the prosecution to obtain all certified true copies and provide an opportunity for cross-examination of the witness.
Justice Hamza Muazu granted the adjournment, scheduling the continuation of the trial for the next day.