How Emefiele used private companies to get CBN contracts – Witness

Former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele, CFR

The Business Relationship Manager of Zenith Bank Plc, Mrs. Ifeoma Ogbonnaya, testified on Tuesday at the Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos, revealing how former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor Godwin Emefiele used his companies to secure several contracts from the apex bank.

Emefiele is on trial for alleged abuse of office and the allocation of $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion. He faces 26 counts alongside his co-defendant, Henry Isioma Omoile, brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before Justice Rahman Oshodi.

Ogbonnaya, the fifth prosecution witness, stated that she had no direct dealings with Emefiele but received instructions from his wife, Mrs. Margaret Emefiele, to transfer cash flow from CBN into their private company’s Zenith Bank account. She also received instructions from Mr. John Ogah and Mr. Opeyemi Oludimu, who worked for Emefiele but is now deceased.

Led in evidence by EFCC prosecution counsel Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), Ogbonnaya explained how she received instructions through her official email, phone calls, and WhatsApp.

She told Justice Oshodi that the companies that received the cash flow from CBN were Limelight Multidimensional Ltd, Kome Support Services Ltd, Ansbaswin Resources Ltd and Magofarm.

The witness testified that it was one Emmanuel who opened the accounts for Emefiele’s companies but that it was taken over by a new set of signatories in 2021.

She said the two signatories to the accounts are Mr Stephen and Mrs Patricia but that all transfer instructions that came to that account were instructed by Mrs Emefiele.

“Whenever she sends us instructions or sends it through the other two people that work with them, I usually confirm from her.

“All the transfers that come to that account were instructed by Madam Margaret Emefiele.

“Sometimes, when the instructions come from the other two, we have to call madam Margaret Emefiele. If she says go ahead, we would treat. But sometimes she says, hold on.”

When asked what the source of every narration that left CBN and the source of such inflow was, she said, ” To the best of my knowledge, when the company does any job at the CBN facility, they bring in the invoice for payment, so I believe those are the payments that come in that description.”

Limelight manages the facilities of CBN, located at Alakija.

“All transactions pertaining to power and fixing things that are not working were always done by the vendors.

” So far Answabian was basically used to provide diesel to their vendors.

” They have a printing and minting company located at Ikoyi. For Kome, there were also facilities for the CBN guest house in Ikoyi.”

Ogbonnaya further told the court that between March 9, and 11, 2015, the account received cash flow from CBN, to the tune of N1, 792,593 and N18,869,400.

“On February 22, 2021, there was a cash flow of N42,988,758.75 from CBN, on July 21, 2022, there was a cash flow of N37,279,964.70. on October 21, 2022, there was a credit flow of N44,641,077.60, on May 10, 2023, there was a cash flow of N93,100,000, from CBN, among others.

Earlier, Justice Oshodi granted Emefiele’s request to recall the first prosecution witness Monday Osazuwa, to enable the defence re- cross re-examine him.

However, the case was adjourned till July 10, for the continuation of the trial.

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