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News - South West - Lagos Updated: May 18, 2024

Emefiele trial: Witness tells court how he paid $600,000 bribe to ex-CBN staff for contract

By TIMOTHY TIMILEHIN ENIETAN-MATTHEWS
May 18, 2024
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A contractor with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Victor Onyejiuwa, on Friday, narrated to the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja how he was pressured to pay $600,000 by a former staff of the bank before payment for the contracts he executed could be paid for.

Onyejiuwa, however, told the court that he had no dealings with the former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele.

He said that the $600,000 he was asked to pay to the management of the CBN before he would be paid for the contract he executed for the apex bank, was paid to the former CBN director of Information Technology, John Ayoh.

Onyejiuwa, the Managing Director of Resource Computer Limited, while testifying in Emefiele’s ongoing trial, said all his communication with Ayoh was done via Whatsapp.

According to him, the first payment he made to John Ayoh was $400,000 in Lagos, while the second payment of $200,000 was paid in Abuja.

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Onyejiuwa further stated that he didn’t get any letter of authorisation from the CBN management that he should pay bribe for the contract that was awarded to his company.

The witness, who was cross-examined by Emefiele’s lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, told the court that it was Ayoh that signed the award of the contract and the completion.

“The first contract that was awarded to his company was N1.3bn, while the second was $2.1m", he said.

Onyejiuwa said that after Ayoh left the CBN, he still did other contracts with the bank till 2019, and was paid in due time, adding that no bribe was demanded from him.

According to him, the contracts he executed after Ayoh left the CBN were done while Emefiele was still the governor of apex bank.

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“I did a new contract with the CBN, and no bribe was demanded and the payment for the contract was paid in due time. I executed the contract while Godwin Emefiele was still the CBN governor,” the witness said.

When asked whether he had any conversation with any of the CBN deputy governors, to find out if Ayoh had the authority to collect the $600,000 bribe he answered in the negative, "No, I did not”.

When asked if Ayoh showed him any communication between himself (Ayoh) and Emefiele about the delivery of the money, he said no.

Onyejiuwa also admitted that he did not have any direct instructions from Emefiele.

“I have never met him before; my dealings with CBN management were through John Ayoh,” he said.

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When the witness was asked if he showed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission a letter demanding a bribe, he said no.

When asked who the money was delivered to, he said it was delivered to Ayoh, in his office and after the payment was made, it was an official of the IT department that signed.

Allnews.ng reports that the embattled Emefiele and his co-defendant, Henry Omoile, are currently facing trial on 26 counts bordering on abuse of office and alleged $4.5bn and N2.8bn fraud.

The former CBN governor and Omoile pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The case was adjourned till July 9, 10, for continuation of trial.

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