Home » Emefiele’s absence stalls arraignment as plea bargain speculation spreads

Emefiele’s absence stalls arraignment as plea bargain speculation spreads

The court is mum about the case involving suspended Nigeria's reserve bank governor, Godwin Emefiele

by Samson Echenim

The arraignment of Godwin Emiefele, suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), over alleged procurement fraud, was again, stalled today.

The Economy gathered that the embattled top banker failed to show up at the Abuja High Court, as his case was not mentioned.

The court is currently sitting, but Emiefele’s case is neither listed nor mentioned, and the court has kept mum over the arraignment and no date slated for adjournment.

While those sympathtic to the travails of the ex-CBN governor have raised concerns of possible ill health and the government’s possible manipulation of the court syatem to prolong his prosecution, there are speculations that Emiefele may be seeking a plea bargain, according a report by a national television in Lagos today.

According to a BBC (Pidgin) report, Emefiele’s lawyers and the prosecuting team were all absent at the and the court did not mention the case as one of the cases up for hearing today.

This is not the first time Emefiele’s arraignment had been stalled. It would be recalled that on August 17, the arraignment of Emiefele was stalled due to the absence of his co-defendant, a CBN staff member Sa’adatu Yaro and her company, April 1616 Investment Limited, listed as the second and third defendants on the matter.

Yaro, currently in DSS custody, is said to be ill and could not appear in court. Justice Hamza Mu’azu then adjourned the matter after all parties agreed August 23t 23.

Emiefele was billed to be arraigned today alongside Yaro, for his alleged involvement in an alleged ₦6.9 billion procurement fraud.

“I am not aware of the former CBN governor’s plea bargain or anything close to that, but one is concerned that his contuinued absence at the court is already a source of worry. Of course, we leave the court to finish its role but Nigerians are aware of an obvious scapegoating of the gentleman,” a source close Emefiele told The Economy.

The Federal Government had initially charged the embattled CBN governor for illegal possession of firearms, but on Tuesday 15, asked the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to withdraw the unlawful possession of firearms charges following its investigations.

The government then filed a fresh 20-count charge against Emiefele at the FCT High Court. Emiefele is facing legal action for procurement fraud, conspiracy, and providing corrupt benefits to his accomplices with Yaro and her business.

The offence contradicts Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000m. If found guilty of the charge of corrupt enrichment, the suspended CBN governor could be sentenced to five years imprisonment without the option of a fine.

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