• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Emefiele: CBN officials asked for $0.6m bribe for executed contract

Victor Onyejiuwa, managing director of The Source Computers Limited, on Thursday testified at the Lagos high court in the case against Godwin Emefiele, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for abuse of office.

Emefiele and Henry Omoile, his co-defendant, stand trial on a 26-count charge and have entered a plea of not guilty.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) presented Onyejiuwa as the fourth witness. He stated that from 2014 to 2019, his company provided technology support to the CBN and received at least five contracts.

In 2017, the CBN granted his company a contract for enterprise storage and servers. Post-execution, John Ikechukwu Ayoh, a former CBN director, informed Onyejiuwa that management required a portion of the contract’s funds, threatening non-approval of payment otherwise.

“After the contract had been executed, I was accosted by Mr John, saying the management was requesting something from the transaction.

“He said there was pressure on him. I told him that our payment was being delayed. He told me that if I don’t accede to his request, my payment will not be approved,” he told the court.

Onyejiuwa conceded to Ayoh’s demands after discussions, organising $400,000 and $200,000 to ensure the contract’s payment, which followed within weeks.

“After several back and forth for him to see reasons with me on why I needed to get paid and my obligations with my partners, I succumbed to his pressure.

“I was able to organise the sum of $400k and $200k to facilitate payment of the contract funds. Within two or three weeks after, payment was made. That is what happened,” he said.

Upon questioning by the EFCC, Onyejiuwa disclosed contract amounts including a $1.2 billion contract when the exchange rate was N360/$, and others valued at $2.1 million, N340,000, and N17 million.

Following Onyejiuwa’s testimony, Emefiele’s counsel, Olalekan Ojo, requested an adjournment for cross-examination at the next hearing. Justice Rahman Oshodi adjourned the case for May 17.

Previously, on April 29, Ayoh testified, stating his tenure at the CBN and his indirect reporting to Emefiele. He admitted to collecting money from contractors on Emefiele’s instructions and delivering it to Emefiele’s assistant, John Adetona.