Emefiele to spend more days in EFCC custody, as public holiday steals court’s date on bail verdict

Ex-CBN Governor, Mr. Emefiele.

By Advocatenewsng.com

A Lagos Special Offences Court, sitting before Justice Rahman Oshodi at Ikeja Judicial Division, Lagos will not today deliver its ruling on the bail application moved last Monday by Mr. Abdulhakeem Labi Lawal, counsel to former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

This is because Thursday, April 11, 2024 originally scheduled for the ruling on the bail application by the court was unknowingly subsumed by the Nigerian Government, after it extended the two-day public holiday it declared for Tuesday and Wednesday to Thursday for the Moslem Eid al-Fitr celebrations.

Perhaps, when the court reconvenes on Friday, a working day, it can then consider to issue a fresh hearing date for the matter to the parties before Emefiele’s fate on temporary freedom can be determined.

The court remanded the ex-CBN governor in EFCC detention facility in Lagos last Monday after he was formerly arraigned on a 26-count charge over alleged abuse of office and committing fraud amounting to $4.5b and N2.8b while he served as CBN governor for nine years.

He was arraigned along with a certain agent, Henry Ozioma Omoile, who the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, accused of helping Emefiele to collect and hide some of the billions of naira and dollars meant for gratifications over allocations of Forex to certain individuals and companies for which they are now standing trial.

While Justice Oshodi remanded Emefiele in EFCC custody, his co-defendant, Henry Ozioma-Omoile, was remanded in Ikoyi Custodial Centre pending the determination of their bail application on April 11, 2024.

In his two bail applications, the defendant’s counsel, Labi-Lawal, urged the court to grant bail on self-recognizance and liberal terms since Emefiele was CBN governor and number one banker in Nigeria for nine years.

Mr Labi-Lawal stated in his 31 affidavits that Emefiele had complied with Justice Muazu’s bail application conditions in his ongoing fraud trial at FCT, Abuja.

‘Although the prosecutor granted administrative bail to the first defendant, he is seeking bail based on self-recognizance, and he is willing to appear in court always as the trial proceeds.

‘As the first defendant was the former governor of the CBN, the court should also consider his status in the society.”

Further, the defence counsel maintained that he had appeared religiously before Justice Muazu in Abuja to answer the allegations.

In his opinion, the first defendant was not a flight risk since he arrived at the court first by 8.10am on the arraignment day.

When the charge was read to them Emefiele and his co-defendant pleaded not guilty to the 26-count charge bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, receiving gifts through agents, indulging in corruption practice, and issuing fraudulent property receipts.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

However, the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) did not oppose the bail application moved by the defence counsel.

Mr Oyedepo, on the other hand urged the court to exercise its discretion judiciously and judicially to grant the defendants bail.

The prosecution had asked the court for a trial date and the court graciously granted it by asking the prosecution to call as many witnesses as there are by the next adjourned date on Thursday, April 11, 2024.

Unfortunately, that is not to be as the public holiday has altered the arrangement.


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