Emefiele: I Paid $600,000 Bribe To CBN, Witness Tells Court

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A prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, Victor Onyejiuwa, on Friday, told the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja that he paid a $600,000 bribe to the management of the apex bank through a former director of CBN, John Ayoh.

Onyejiuwa, who is a contractor with the CBN, however, told the judge that he had no direct dealings with Emefiele or other members of the management team of the bank.

He claimed that he was asked to pay $600,000 to the management of CBN before receiving payment for the contract he completed for CBN and that the bribe was paid to Ayoh after serious pressure from the latter.

The former CBN boss was arraigned before the court alongside one Herry Omoile on allegations of accepting gratification, accepting gifts through agents, corruption, and fraudulent property receipts.

The anti-graft agency also accused Emefiele of conferring corrupt advantage on his associates contrary to the Corrupt Practices Act 2000.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty.

While being cross-examined by Emefiele’s lawyer, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Onyejiuwa said that all his communication with Ayoh was done via WhatsApp platform.

The witness testified that the first payment made to John Ayoh was $400,000 in Lagos, and the second was $200,000 in Abuja.

He said that the CBN director told him that the money was being demanded by the management team of the bank and that unless he pay he won’t be paid for the contract he executed for the apex bank.

Onyejiuwa, however, testified that he didn’t get any letter of authorisation from the CBN management that he should pay a bribe for the contract awarded to his company.

The witness further told the court that Ayoh was the one who signed the papers for the award of the contract and the completion certificate.

He said, “The first contract awarded to my company was N1.3 billion, and the second was $2.1 million.”

Onyejiuwa said that after John Ayoh left CBN, he was awarded other contacts by the bank, and that he was paid in due time, and no bribe was demanded from him.

He stated, “I did a new contract with CBN, and no bribe was demanded, and the payment for the contract was paid in due time.”

When he was asked by Ojo who the money was delivered to, he said it was delivered to Ayoh in his office, and after the payment was made, it was an official of the IT department that signed the documents.

Justice Rahman Oshodi adjourned the case to July 9 for continuation of trial.


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