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Monday, May 20, 2024

Former CBN director alleges receipt of $600,000 for Emefiele

Ex-Director Claims Pressure in Delivery of Funds as Legal Battles Surround Apex Bank Governor

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John Ayoh, a former Director of Information Technology at the Central Bank of Nigeria, made startling allegations on Monday, asserting that he collected a sum of $600,000 on behalf of former CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele from contractors in two separate transactions.

Testifying as the second witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos, Ayoh revealed details of facilitating the delivery of funds to Emefiele under the guise of contract awards. Under cross-examination by defence counsel Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Ayoh admitted to succumbing to pressure in his role.

Emefiele, embroiled in legal battles both in Abuja and Lagos, faces charges of abuse of office and accepting gratification amounting to $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion. Arraigned alongside co-defendant Henry Isioma-Omoile on April 8, 2024, the former governor contests the court’s jurisdiction over constitutional matters, seeking to dismiss specific charges against him.

Ayoh recounted how he facilitated the collection of $400,000 by his assistant, John Adetola, at his residence in Lekki, Lagos, and a subsequent $200,000 at the CBN headquarters. He emphasized Emefiele’s insistence on direct receipt of the funds without intermediaries.

Pressed on his involvement in criminal activities, Ayoh denied direct participation but acknowledged being coerced under significant pressure, noting the funds were intended to influence contract awards.

In response to queries about verifying the amounts received, Ayoh stated he did not inspect the envelopes and confessed to unwittingly facilitating the commission of crimes. Despite being invited by the EFCC on February 20, 2024, Ayoh was released on bail.

Emefiele’s defence, led by Ojo, challenged the court’s jurisdiction, citing constitutional grounds. Justice Rahman Oshodi deferred judgment on jurisdictional matters, adjourning the proceedings until May 3.

As legal intricacies unfold, the case underscores the complexity and gravity surrounding allegations against high-ranking officials, signaling a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s legal landscape.

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