Court Grants Emefiele Bail

The Federal Capital Territory High Court on Wednesday admitted the embattled former Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to bail. The court ordered that he should be released to his counsel and must be produced in court when needed. The presiding judge, Justice Adeniyi, also ordered him to deposit all his travel documents with the court’s registrar.

The judge also pointed out that there must be an end to detention, without trial. The court must also not overlook the fact that he has been in detention for 151 days and the Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation must abide by the court order. The substantive motion on notice as well as the preliminary objection, were adjourned to November 17, 2023 for hearing.

Justice Adeniyi had on Monday, reaffirmed his order that the detained former CBN governor be brought to court today for the purpose of admitting him to bail. At the resumed hearing, counsel for Emefiele, Mathew Burkaa, applied that his client be admitted to bail on liberal terms, having been in the custody of security agencies for 151 days. He made this application to Provisions of Section 35 (4a and b) of the 1999 constitution.

While objecting to the bail application, counsel for the Attorney General of the Federation and the Federal Government, Onyi Koleosho, pointed out that Emefiele was transferred to the custody of the EFCC on October 26, and that date is not up to two months.

He stated that a hearing notice has been issued by the court to the effect that Emefiele will be arraigned on November 15, 2023, in respect of a pending charge filed by the office of the AGF.

He said the court should decline the application for Emefiele’s release in the interest of justice, and to avoid a situation where the scheduled arraignment may interfere with investigations, adding that releasing him will pose further problems and difficulties for the prosecution to get him to attend court next week, for his arraignment.

Counsel for the EFCC, Farouk Abdallah, agreed that the issue of bail is at the discretion of the court. In a further submission, Counsel for Emefiele pointed out that his client has not been served any charge to date. He assured the court that the former CBN governor is not a flight risk and doesn’t have the capacity to stop his arraignment by the Federal Government next week.

Noting that his client has been in custody all this while, the lawyer noted that Nigeria would lose nothing by granting Emefiele bail. During the proceeding, Emefiele was also given the room to address the court. He said he hasn’t been charged to date.

Counsel for the EFCC, however, said he is taken aback by these claims because when Emefiele was brought before a sister court (Justice Muazu), he was meant to take his plea. The EFCC counsel further prayed the court to impose terms that are attainable for Emefiele to come to court on November 15 for him to take his plea.

In his ruling on Wednesday, the judge granted Emefiele bail. The substantive motion on notice as well as the preliminary objection were adjourned to November 17, 2023, for hearing.

Emefiele was first detained in June, when he was removed as CBN Governor, by the Department of State Service (DSS) and later transferred to EFCC, seeking his release. Emefiele, through his legal team, joined the Federal Government, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), EFCC chairman and the anti-corruption commission as respondents.

The ex-CBN chief was scheduled to be arraigned by the Federal Government before Justice Hamza Muazu of the FCT high court, Maitama, on August 17 alongside two others, Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro and a company, April 1616 Investment Limited.

They were to be arraigned on a 20-count charge bordering on procurement fraud to the tune of N6.9 billion, conferment of advantage and conspiracy. The arraignment could, however, not be held due to the absence of Yaro, who was said to be sick and the matter was adjourned on August 23.

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