By Lucy Adautin
Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court has granted the request of the immediate past Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele to travel out of the nation’s capital.
But the court said Emefiele must, however, remain in the country because on his bail terms, he was restricted to the FCT.
Emefiele, through his lawyer, Mathew Bukka (SAN) had requested a variation of the terms and the Counsel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He told the court to ensure that Emefiele wrote an undertaking that he would remain in the country if his plea was granted, as the charge against the former governor of the CBN was also amended to 20 from 6.
The amended charges against Emefiele now includes criminal breach of trust, forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery, procurement fraud and conspiracy to commit felony, as the court had on December 24, 2023 granted Emefiele bail in sum of N300 million with two sureties in like sum.
His lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mathew Burkaa, told Channels Television that Emefiele was released from the Kuje Correctional Centre after his lawyers perfected his bail conditions.
Emefiele was arraigned on a six-count charge bordering on procurement fraud and using his position to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Yaro, a staff of the CBN, by awarding a contract for the procurement of 43 vehicles worth N1.2 billion between 2018 and 2020.
While he was remanded in Kuje, Emefiele was mandated to deposit all his travel documents with the registrar of the court and must remain within the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), the trial over his alleged procurement of vehicles has already began before Justice Hamza Muazu.
Last year in June, Emefiele was first taken into custody by the Department of State Services (DSS) following his suspension as the CBN governor by President Bola Tinubu.
Confirming the arrest of Emefiele at the time, the DSS spokesperson Peter Afunanya had said, “The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby confirms that Mr Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is now in its custody for some investigative reasons.
“The public, particularly the Media, is enjoined to apply utmost caution in the reportage and narratives concerning this.”
After his arrest, Emefiele had approached the FCT High Court in Abuja, challenging his detention by the DSS.
While delivering ruling on the fundamental human right suit file by Emefiele, Justice Hamza Muazu had issued a one-week ultimatum to DSS to either charge him to Court or set him free.