Former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Charged with Procurement Fraud, Remanded in Custody
Godwin Emefiele, the ousted former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, faced charges of procurement fraud at a local court on Friday (Nov. 17). The court remanded him in prison pending a ruling on his bail application.
The Nigerian government amended the charges against Emefiele, accusing him of unlawfully awarding contracts for numerous vehicles during his tenure as the head of Africa’s largest economy’s apex bank. According to court documents, Emefiele allegedly used his position to grant an unfair advantage by awarding contracts to a company associated with a fellow staff member, contravening Nigeria’s procurement laws.
Appearing in an Abuja court, the former governor pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted, he could face at least five years in jail. Emefiele has been in custody since his removal from office.
Emefiele was a prominent figure in Nigerian governance, overseeing the country’s monetary policy for nine years. However, his tenure ended shortly after the new president, Bola Tinubu, assumed office in May.
The suspension was attributed to an investigation into the central bank’s affairs as part of financial sector reforms. It coincided with controversies surrounding the bank’s policies, such as Nigeria’s unsuccessful currency swap program.
Emefiele’s extended detention and inquiry led to a lawsuit against Nigeria’s secret police for allegedly violating his fundamental rights by exceeding the lawful detention period. He was eventually released following court orders.
The court is expected to decide on Emefiele’s bail application in due course.