How Emefiele Stole Funds Through His Wife: Witness

A lot of private investment companies are showing interest in the N15 trillion Infrastructure Company Limited (InfraCo) that will begin operation in the third quarter of the year,
A lot of private investment companies are showing interest in the N15 trillion Infrastructure Company Limited (InfraCo) that will begin operation in the third quarter of the year,

Mrs. Ifeoma Ogbonnaya, an assistant manager at Zenith Bank Plc, has described how Mr. Godwin Emefiele, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), transferred money to his spouse, Mrs. Margaret Emefiele.

On Tuesday, Ogbonnaya described to the Ikeja Special Offenses Court how Emefiele transferred millions of naira to his wife through the bank. Emefiele is on trial for suspected office abuse and fraud totaling N2.8 billion and $4.5 billion during his tenure in government.

The fifth prosecution witness, Ogbonnaya, was led in testimony by Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), Counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). She described to the court how Emefiele utilized Zenith Bank to send his wife millions of naira in installments via a number of businesses.

Ogbonnaya said the companies that received the cash flow were Amswing Resources and Solution, Limelight Dimensional Service Ltd., Omec Support Service Ltd., and Mango Farm.

“Limelight manages the facilities of CBN, located at Alakija, and all transactions pertaining to power and fixing things that are not working were always done by the vendors,” she said.

a ZenithThe witness who also doubles as a Business Relationship Manager, joined the bank in 2006. Ogbonnaya said she never had direct dealings with the ex-CBN governor but received instructions from his wife to transfer cash from CBN into their private companies through Zenith Bank account.

She said apart from Mrs. Emefiele, she also received instructions from two other people, one Mr. John Ogah and one Mr. Opeyemi Oludimu, who worked for Mrs. Emefiele but are now late. The witness, however, said that she managed the various companies accounts through which the multimillion naira was sent to.

“Mrs Margaret Emefiele, the ex-CBN governor’s wife, is the direct beneficiary of the accounts.

“The companies sent transfer instructions to my email and Margaret is the beneficial owner of the accounts.

“All transactions made in the accounts were confirmed by Mrs Emefiele before they were processed.

“She sends transfer instructions directly to my official email address with Zenith Bank or sends two other persons to act on her behalf but I still receive approval from her,” she said.

million,The witness also told the court that from March 9 to 11, 2015, the accounts received cash flow from the apex bank to the tune of N18. 9 million and N1.8 million, respectively

On Feb. 22, 2021, there was a cash flow of N43 million from CBN; on July 21, 2022, there was a cash flow of N37.3 million; on Oct. 21, 2022, there was a credit flow of N44.6 million; and on May 10, 2023, there was a cash flow of N93.1 million from CBN, among others,” she said.

thatThe witness further said that she usually communicate with Emefiele’s wife through email, phone calls and WhatsApp on transactions that are to be carried out on the accounts before processing them. She said the bundles of documents that entailed the various transactions were printed from her office desktop computer.

The documents were sent to my email, and when the investigation started, I was requested to print all the documents for law enforcement, which I did.

the compliance I printed from the office desk top and took them to the compliance officer.

“I also have a certificate confirming that these documents were printed at Zenith Bank,” Ogbonnaya said.

The prosecution sought to tender the bundles of documents that entailed the various transactions that took place between the witness and Emefiele’s wife.

Emefiele’s counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), and the second defence counsel, Mr. Kazeem Gbadamosi (SAN), did not object to the admissibility of the documents. The court, thereafter, admitted into evidence the certificate of identification and bundle of printed documents, following no objections from the defence.

fundsThe witness, thereafter, spoke into the documents and briefly explained the inflow and outflow of funds purportedly sent from the CBN through Zenith Bank to Emefiele’s wife.

asThe prosecution also sought the indulgence of the court for the witness to write down the number of times she used to have conversations with Mrs. Emefiele on an A4 piece of paper, which was admitted as evidence.

The witness, however, said that she could not remember some digits of the number by heart but could recall them through her mobile phone. The two defence counsels, however, objected to the witness, recalling the number through her phone.

The News Agency reports that Justice Rahman Oshodi had earlier in the proceeding granted the application filed by the second defence counsel to recall the first prosecution witness, Monday Osazuwa.

On April 8, the EFCC arraigned Emefiele on 23 counts bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, corrupt demand, receiving property fraudulently obtained, and conferring corrupt advantage.

Also, his co-defendant, Henry Omoile-Isioma, was arraigned on three counts bordering on acceptance of a gift by agents. The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty. The judge, however, adjourned the case until July 10 for the continuation of the trial.

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