• Tuesday, February 27, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

EFCC pursues Emefiele’s wife and associates in high-profile money laundering probe

8A714A27-6F42-437C-AB85-2DB10AF1CD2E

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has issued a declaration naming Margaret Emefiele, spouse of former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele and three others as wanted individuals for their alleged involvement in money laundering activities.

According to the EFCC, Margret Emefiele, Eric Odoh, Anita Omoile, and her husband, Jonathan Omoile, are being sought for their purported collaboration with the former CBN Governor in the conversion of substantial amounts of funds belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria. These actions constitute felonies, including obtaining money under false pretences and theft, offences outlined in Sections 411, 287, and 314 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

Details regarding the alleged money laundering offences were disclosed by the EFCC late Friday evening through a mugshot portrait of the four suspects. The document explicitly identifies the quartet of Eric Odoh, Margaret Emefiele, Anita Omoile, and Jonathan Omoile as wanted by the EFCC for offences related to economic and financial crimes. The EFCC has solicited any information regarding their whereabouts to be reported to the nearest EFCC Command or police station.

Additionally, an EFCC document titled “Arrests and Recoveries,” previously obtained exclusively by a correspondent, unveiled that former CBN Governor Emefiele is facing prosecution by the EFCC for fraud amounting to ₦1.8 billion and $6.2 million.

The Federal Government has recently amended the criminal charges against Emefiele for the third time, presenting them before Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja. In the latest amendment, Emefiele is accused of impersonating the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to obtain $6.2 million unlawfully. This accusation involves Emefiele’s alleged collusion with Odoh Ocheme, who is evading law enforcement.

The EFCC alleges that Emefiele forged a document dated January 26, 2023, titled “Re: Presidential directive on foreign election observers mission,” and purportedly connived with Ocheme to commit forgery. Furthermore, Emefiele is accused of awarding a contract for the renovation of a portion of the CBN Governor’s residence in Lagos to the tune of N99.8 million, thereby allegedly conferring corrupt advantage on his wife, Omoile Margaret, and brother-in-law, Omoile Macombo.

These actions violate Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000. The amended charge sheet comprises 20 counts against Emefiele, and the judge has scheduled the next hearing for Friday for Emefiele to enter his plea on the amended charges.

In the original charge filed in August 2023, Emefiele was accused of procurement fraud amounting to N6.5 billion, alongside a female CBN employee, Sa’adatu Yaro, and her company, April 1616 Investment. However, the EFCC later amended the charge, reducing the counts to six and removing the names of Yaro and April 1616 Investment, while also reducing the alleged procurement fraud amount to N1.2 billion. Emefiele pleaded not guilty to the second charge on November 29, 2023, and the EFCC has commenced its trial, having called three witnesses thus far before the latest amendment.