Emefiele Moved Funds From CBN Into Wife’s Account Witness Tells Court

Former CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

An Assistant Manager with Zenith Bank Plc, Mrs Ifeoma Ogbonnaya, has narrated how Mr Godwin Emefiele, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), moved funds to his wife, Mrs Margaret Emefiele.

Ogbonnaya told an Ikeja Special Offences Court on Tuesday how Emefiele used the bank to move multimillion naira to his wife.

Emefiele is standing trial over abuse of office and alleged $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion fraud while in office.

Ogbonnaya, the fifth prosecution witness, was led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN).

She told the court how Emefiele used Zenith Bank to transfer millions of naira in tranches to his wife through various companies.

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 was always done by the vendors,” she said.

The 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 the Emefiele but 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.

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, on May 10, 2023, there was a cash flow of N93.1 million from CBN, among others,” she said.

The witness further said that she usually communicate with Emefiele’s wife through email, phone calls and Whatsapp on transactions that were to be carried out on the accounts before processing them.

She said the bundles of documents which entailed the various transactions were printed from her office desktop computer.

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

“I printed from the office desk top and took them to compliance officer. I also have certificate confirming that these documents were printed from Zenith Bank,” Ogbonnaya said.

The prosecution sought to tender the bundles of documents which 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 the admissibility of the documents.

The court, thereafter, admitted into evidence the certificate of identification, bundle of printed documents, following no objections from the defence.

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

The prosecution also sought the indulgence of the court for the witness to write down the number in which she used to have conversations with Mrs Emefiele on an A4 paper which was admitted into evidence.

The witness, however, said that she could not remember some digits of the number by heart but she could recall it through her mobile phone.

The two defence counsel, however, objected to the witness, recalling the number through her phone.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) 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.

EFCC had on April 8 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 gift by agents.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty.

The judge, however, adjourned the case until July 10 for continuation of trial. (NAN/Daily Trust

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