The Federal Capital Territory High Court has granted the request of a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, to travel out of Abuja.
Recall that in November granted Emefiele bail in the sum of N300 million with two sureties in like sum.
Justice Hamza Muazu had ordered that each of the sureties must possess landed property worth N300 million within the court’s jurisdiction, with Certificate of Occupancy (C of O), which must be deposited with the court registrar, who will have to verify the property.
Emefiele was ordered to deposit his travel documents with the court and remain in Abuja during the period of the trial.
However, Emefiele appeared in court on Thursday, January 18, to seek a variation of his bail conditions.
At Thursday’s proceedings, counsel to Emefiele, Matthew Burkaa (SAN), informed the Court that the defendant filed a motion dated January 10 seeking variation of the bail condition to enable him travel within the country.
He urged the court to vary the condition for his client.
Prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, did not object to the application but rather urged the court to ensure that the defendant remains within the country while his trial lasts.
He further asked that the defence team write an undertaking that their client will remain in the country.
In a ruling on the application, Justice Muazu granted the request and ordered that Emefiele should remain within Nigeria for the period of his trial.
Meanwhile, Oyedepo informed the court that the prosecution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on Wednesday filed an amended charge against Emefiele and urged that the defendant be allowed to take his plea for the new charge.
Burkaa, however, told the court that the defence was served the new charge on Wednesday and needed time to study it.
Based on the development, the court adjourned sitting till January 19 for the new charge to be taken.
Emefiele was arraigned before the court on November 17, 2023, on a six-count charge bordering on conferring advantage on a female staff member of CBN, contrary to the provision of Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
In the charge marked CR/577/2023, Emefiele was accused of using his position as CBN governor to award six different contracts to one Sa’adatu Ramalan Yero, a CBN staff member, between 2018 and 2020 to the tune of N1,210,600,000.
The procurement contracts were awarded to a company in which the said Sa’adatu Ramalan Yero is a director.
Emefiele, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.