The former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has been granted permission by a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court to travel out of the FCT, but not out of the country.
Justice Hamza Muazu, who is presiding over Emefiele’s trial on charges of procurement fraud and abuse of office, gave the order on Thursday, following an application by Emefiele’s counsel, Mathew Burkaa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Burkaa had argued that Emefiele needed to travel to other states for personal and official reasons, and that his movement should not be restricted to the FCT.
The prosecution, led by Rotimi Jacobs, a SAN, did not oppose the application, but urged the court to ensure that Emefiele does not flee the country or interfere with the witnesses.
Justice Muazu, in his ruling, granted Emefiele’s request, but ordered him to remain within the Nigerian territory and report to the court whenever he is needed.
He also warned Emefiele against tampering with evidence or influencing the outcome of the trial.
Emefiele, who served as the CBN governor from 2014 to 2023, is facing a 20-count charge of procurement fraud and using his position to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Yaro, a staff of the CBN, by awarding a contract for the procurement of 43 vehicles worth N1.2 billion between 2018 and 2020.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which filed the charge, alleged that Emefiele violated the Public Procurement Act and the CBN Act by awarding the contract without due process and in favour of Yaro, who was his mistress.
Emefiele pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail in the sum of N300 million with two sureties in like sum in November last year.
He was released from the Kuje Correctional Centre after his lawyers perfected his bail conditions.
He was also ordered to deposit all his travel documents with the registrar of the court and remain within the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).
The trial has commenced with the prosecution calling its first witness, Abdulrahman Jimoh, an investigator with the EFCC, who said Emefiele diverted funds meant for the CBN to purchase vehicles for his personal use and that of Yaro.