A Deputy Director in charge of Branch Operations in the Central Bank of Nigeria, Onyeka Ogbu, on Monday, informed a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama that he had knowledge of a payment request amounting to $6.2 million intended for international election observers.
The former governor of the bank, Godwin Emefiele, is currently undergoing trial on an amended set of 20 charges, including criminal conspiracy, conferring undue advantage, and breach of trust, among others. These charges have been filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Emefiele stands accused of unlawfully obtaining a sum of $6.2 million by allegedly impersonating the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The anti-graft agency claims that in January 2023, Emefiele forged a document titled “Re: Presidential directive on foreign election observer missions,” dated January 26, 2023, with Reference Number SGF.43/L.01/201.
During the recent court session, Ogbu, serving as the prosecution witness, disclosed that the request for the aforementioned sum was made on January 8, 2023. He further stated that he examined the documents and subsequently granted approval for the disbursement, which was then carried out.
Ogbu said, “On January 8, 2023, a request for payment of $6, 230, 000 was brought to my attention by the Banking Services department.
“Ours is to make payment, we don’t have the power to approve.
“Having gone through the documents and satisfied, I minuted on it and sent for processing and disbursement which was complied with.”
All documents were recognized, yet specific pages were noticeably absent.
As a result, the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), requested a temporary pause to address the matter of the missing pages.
However, the defendant’s counsel, Matthew Burkaa (SAN), raised an objection, contending that the prosecution is bound by the evidence contained within the documents. He advocated for an adjournment to allow the prosecution to obtain all certified true copies and to facilitate the cross-examination of the witness.
After considering their arguments, Justice Hamza Muazu adjourned the proceedings until Tuesday for the trial to continue.