How CBN wired funds through Emefiele’s wife, Zenith Bank manager tells court

Emefiele
How CBN wired funds through Emefiele’s wife, Zenith Bank manager tells court

A business relationship manager with Zenith Bank PLC, Ifeoma Ogbonnaya, has told a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja how funds were moved from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through Zenith Bank to some accounts linked to Mrs Margaret Emefiele, wife of a former Governor of the CBN Godwin Emefiele.

Ogbonnaya who is the fifth prosecution witness testified in the trial of Godwin Emefiele and his co-defendant, Henry Omoile, on charges of alleged abuse of office to the tune of $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion.

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Led in evidence by EFCC’s Prosecutor (SAN) Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness told trial Judge Rahman Oshodi that she never had any dealings with the former CBN governor but testified that several transfers running into billions from apex bank were made into private companies linked to Mrs Emefiele.

The inflows were for services rendered by the companies for CBN.

She listed the private companies that received the cash flow from CBN, as Limelight Multidimensional Services Ltd, Comec Support Services Ltd, Andswin Resources Solution Ltd, and Magofarm.

The witness also testified that the two signatories to the accounts are one Mr Stephen and Mrs Patricia but that all transfer instructions were authorised by Mrs Emefiele.

She said apart from Mrs Emefiele she also receives instructions from two other people – Mr John Ogah and one Mr Opeyemi Oludimu – who works for Emefiele but is now late.

“Mrs Margaret Emefiele, the ex-CBN governor’s wife is the direct beneficiary of the accounts. The companies send transfer instructions to my email and all transactions made in the accounts were confirmed by Mrs Emefiele before they were processed,” she stated.

“Whenever she sends transfer instructions directly to my official email address with Zenith Bank or sends it through two other persons that work with them, I usually confirm from her.”

The witness also explained that Limelight manages the facilities of CBN, located in the Alakija area of Lagos, and noted that all transactions about power and fixing things that are not working were always done by the vendors.

“Andswin was basically used to provide diesel to their vendors. Magofarms deals with piggery and poultry. For Comec, they also had facilities for the CBN guest house in Ikoyi.”

Ogbonnaya also told the court about some of the cash flows the accounts received.

“On February 22, 2021, there was a cash flow of N42,988,758.75 from CBN, on July 21, 2022, there was a cash flow of N37,279,964.70. On October 21, 2022, there was a credit flow of N44,641,077.60, on May 10, 2023, there was a cash flow of N93,100,000, from CBN, among others,” the witness said.

She said the bundles of documents which entailed the various transactions were printed from her desktop computer.

“The documents were sent to my email and when the investigation started, I was requested to print all the documents for the law enforcement which I did. I printed them from the office desktop and took them to the compliance officer.

“I also have certificates confirming that these documents were printed from Zenith Bank.”

With no objections from the defence team, the court admitted in evidence, the certificate of identification and the bundle of printed documents which contained the various transactions the witness purportedly carried out under Mrs Emefiele’s instructions.

Justice Oshodi also granted a request by Mr Emefiele’s lawyers to recall the first prosecution witness Monday Osazuwa for a further cross-examination.

The trial was then adjourned till July 10, for continuation.

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