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EFCC’s Witness Admits Demanding, Receiving Bribes

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A prosecution witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in the trial of the immediate-past Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has admitted demanding and receiving bribes from contractors.

The witness, a retired Director in the IT Department of CBN, Mr John Ayoh, made the admittance under cross examination by Emefiele's lawyer, Mr Olalekan Ojo, SAN.

Emefiele is standing trial on a 23-count charge of abuse of office and fraud to the tune of $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion.

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He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was admitted to bail to enable him adequately defend the charges.

Among those who testified were Mr Victor Onyejuiwa, the managing director of Source Computers Limited, a company that had executed various contracts worth billions of naira at the CBN before Emefiele became governor of the apex bank.

The others were Ayoh and a staff of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Clement Ngolu.
Responding to questions from Emefiele's lawyer, the former CBN director admitted that he demanded and received a bribe from Onyejuiwa.

Ayoh stated, “I was not happy being unpopular with the former CBN governor but on a number of occasions, I signed contract letters to vendors. While I was a director with the CBN, my loyalty was to the bank and the Nigerian nation and my relationship with Emefiele was only formal and based on instructions.”

Onyejuiwa, while being questioned by Emefiele's lawyer, admitted that he was forced against his wish by Ayoh to make payment for jobs done at the CBN.

He alleged that the former director had threatened that his company would not be paid unless such payment was made to management.

On his part, Mr John Ayoh admitted that he demanded and received a bribe from Mr. Victor Onyejuiwa. He was, however, unable to explain or connect Mr. Emefiele with the bribery demands and receipts.

However, the third prosecution witness, a Compliance Officer with Zenith Bank, Mr. Clement Ngolu, in his Evidence-in-Chief, said his department responded to regulators and law enforcement agencies in order to ensure that the bank activities were in line with bank's policies and regulations.

He added that his department worked with agencies like EFCC, Nigeria Police, ICPC and NSCDC.

Meanwhile, the trial judge, Justice Rahman Oshodi of the Ikeja High Court in Lagos, gave Emefiele permission to file an appeal against his decision (at the Appeal Court), deferring ruling on the court's jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The leave was sequel to Emefiele's insistence that the Ikeja High Court lacked the jurisdiction to try him on the grounds that the matter at hand bordered on foreign exchange, which is on the Exclusive List of the constitution.

At the resumed trial on Friday, the prosecution, led by Mr Oyedepo, SAN, called three witnesses and tendered several bundles of documents in support of EFCC's allegations against Emefiele.


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