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CBN officials demanded $600k bribe to process payment of executed contract, says witness at Emefiele’s trial

CBN officials demanded $600k bribe to process payment of executed contract, says witness at Emefiele’s trial
May 09
19:58 2024

Victor Onyejiuwa, the managing director of The Source Computers Limited, has testified against Godwin Emefiele, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in the ongoing case of abuse of office at the Lagos high court.

Emefiele and his co-defendant, Henry Omoile, are currently facing trial on a 26-count charge.

The former CBN governor and Omoile pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

At the court hearing on Thursday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) presented Onyejiuwa as the fourth witness in the case against Emefiele.

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Onyejiuwa told the court that his company — The Source Computers Limited — provided information and communication technologies assistance to the apex bank between 2014 and 2019.

The witness said the CBN awarded at least five contracts to his company during the period.

He added that in 2017, the apex bank awarded an “enterprise storage and servers” contract to his firm.

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Onyejiuwa said after the contract was executed, he was approached by John Ikechukwu Ayoh, a former director at the apex bank, that the “management needs something” from the contract.

Onyejiuwa said Ayoh told him that if he did not accede, the funds meant for the contract would not be approved by the management.

“After the contract had been executed, I was accosted by Mr John, saying the management was requesting something from the transaction,” he told the court.

“He said there was pressure on him. I told him that our payment was being delayed. He told me that if I don’t accede to his request, my payment will not be approved.

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“After several back and forth for him to see reasons with me on why I needed to get paid and my obligations with my partners, I succumbed to his pressure.

“I was able to organise the sum of $400k and $200k to facilitate payment of the contract funds. Within two or three weeks after, payment was made. That is what happened.

“I was pressured to give the money. I will appreciate it if the money is recovered by the court.”

Asked by the EFCC counsel to mention the amount allocated for the contracts, he said that the highest contract sum was $1.2 billion in late 2017 when naira traded at N360/$ at the forex market.

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The witness added that he was awarded contracts for $2.1 million, N340,000, and N17 million by the CBN.

After Onyejiuwa’s testimony, Olalekan Ojo, Emefiele’s counsel, asked for an adjournment to cross-examine the witness in the next court sitting.

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Rahman Oshodi, the trial judge, adjourned the case to May 17 for the cross-examination of the witness.

A REWIND

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On April 29, Ayoh, former CBN director, appeared before the court to testify against Emefiele.

Ayoh told the court that he worked at the apex bank from June 2014 to April 2019, noting that he did not work directly under Emefiele.

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Ayoh added that he used to report to Adebayo Adelabu, a former deputy governor of CBN, who is now the minister of power.

The witness said he was the head of procurement and support services (PSS) of the apex bank, which was vested with powers to receive bids and select successful bidders.

The former CBN director said he collected money from contractors as gratification of awarding contracts to them based on the instruction from Emefiele.

Ayoh said he collected $400,000 and $200,000 in cash from contractors on two different occasions and handed them over to Emefiele’s personal assistant — John Adetona.

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