How Emefiele grabbed most of CBN contracts for family businesses

How Emefiele grabbed most of CBN contracts for family businesses

AISHAT ABUBAKAR

The Head of Commercial Relations of Zenith Bank Plc, Mrs Ifeoma Ogbonnaya, on Tuesday explained to the Special Offences Court, Ikeja, Lagos, how former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, used her companies to land several contracts with Apex Bank.

Emefiele is on trial for alleged abuse of office and allocation of $4.5 billion, or N2.8 billion, while he was CBN governor.

The embattled former CBN governor is facing 26 counts alongside his co-accused, Henry Isioma Omoile, before Justice Rahman Oshodi, booked against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Ogbonnaya, who is the fifth prosecution witness, told the court that she never had any relationship with the former CBN governor but received instructions from his wife, Mrs Margaret Emefiele, to transfer CBN cash flow to the private account of their company Zenith Bank.

She said that apart from Mrs Emefiele, she also takes instructions from two other persons, Mr John Ogah and one Mr Opeyemi Oludimu, who works for Emefiele but is now late.

The witness, who was presented as the main witness by the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), told the court how she received the instructions through her official email and other times through phone calls or WhatsApp.

She told Justice Oshodi that the companies that received the cash flows from the CBN were Limelight multidimensional Ltd, Come Support Services Ltd and Ambswin resources Ltd and Magofarm.

The witness said it was one Emmanuel who opened the accounts of Emefiele’s companies but they were taken over by a new group of signatories in 2021.

She said the two signatories to the accounts are Mr Stephen and Ms Patricia, but all transfer instructions that came into that account were given by Ms Emefiele.

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

Limelight manages CBN’s facilities, located in Alakija.

“All transactions relating to electricity and repair of items that are not working have always been done by the suppliers. Up until now, Answabian was mainly used to supply diesel to their suppliers. They have a printing press and a coin minting company located in Ikoyi. For Kome, it was also a facility for the CBN guest house in Ikoyi.”

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

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

Justice Oshodi had earlier granted the application by Emefiele’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo SAN, to recall the first prosecution witness, Monday Obaze, for further cross-examination.

However, the case was adjourned until July 10 for further trial.