Gratification: CBN official reveals how he collected $3m for Emefiele

Mr Monday Osazuwa, an official of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) who is a witness in the ongoing trial of Godwin Emefiele over alleged abuse of office , has revealed to the Lagos

Special Offences Court, Ikeja , how the defendant directed him to collect three million dollars cash in tranches.B

Emefiele, immediate past Governor of CBN was arraigned before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on April 8,  on 23 -counts charge bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, corrupt demand and others.

At the resumed hearing if the trial on Friday, Osasuwa, while being led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), said he was a dispatch rider in Zenith Bank in 2001 before he joined the CBN in 2014. Osasuwa said he joined the apex bank as a senior supervisor in 2014.

According to him, Emefiele was the Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc while he was working as a dispatch rider in the bank.

He said: “I was still working in the CBN governor’s office while I was appointed as a full staff member and we usually communicated through Whatsapp and email. I function as a senior supervisor, recording  and filing with other official roles. I recall that in 2020, when he was outside Lagos, he called me that he would give me a number that a man had something I should collect from him and that the man would give me the number of another person. When I got to the man’s office, I was given an envelope. I opened it, it was money, counted the money and the man said I should give it to my boss”.

The witness further told the court that the first defendant used to collect the money by himself  anytime he was in Lagos but anytime the defendant was not around, he would tell him to give the money to the second defendant.

Osazuwa added that Emefiele sent him to MINL Ltd. when he was with Zenith Bank. “This company is situated at Isolo, the first defendant did send me to collect cheques from the company from Mr Monday and when I collected the cheque from Mr Monday, I would give it back to Emefiele and he would lodge the money into Dumies Oil and Gas”, he told the court.

According to him, Emefiele’s co-defendant, Henry Isioma-Omoile, lived in the residence of the former CBN governor.

He stated that when he collected money for his boss, he would take it to his residence at Iru Close, Ikoyi.

“Whenever I received the money and take it to my boss’s residence, Mr Emefiele would tell me to give it to the second defendant whenever he was not at home. I did not keep a record of transactions because the instruction he gave me was that I should collect the money and bring the money to his house. The highest amount I collected was one million dollars all in cash and some weeks later, the businessman also called me to collect $850,000, $750,000 and $400,000 cash in tranches. I have never been rewarded, paid or given anything because I am doing it out of faithfulness and he knows it but he has never for once said, ‘take this’,” he said.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr Abdulakeem Labi-Lawal, the witness confirmed  to the court that he had been working with the defendant since 2002. According to the witness, Emefiele passed instructions to him through the second defendant and that he had been collecting cheques for Dumies Oil and Gas.

Meanwhile , the court has granted bail  to Emefiele in the sum of N50 million.

The trial judge, Justice Rahmon Oshodi ruled on the bail application on Friday, admitting Emefiele on bail with two sureties in like sum. Further hearing has been adjourned till April 29.

SOURCE:THE SUN

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