Emefiele: Contractor narrates how he was forced to pay $600,000 bribe


A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Victor Onyejiuwa, on Thursday, claimed he was forced to pay a $600,000 bribe after executing a contract for the Central Bank of Nigeria under the leadership of Godwin Emefiele.

Onyejiuwa, who is the Managing Director of The Source Computers Limited, testified in the ongoing trial of Emefiele for alleged abuse of office and accepting of gratification to the tune of $4.5bn and N2.8bn by the EFCC.

Onyejiuwa said he was forced by the management of CBN to pay the sum of $600,000 as bribe for the payment of contract he executed.

Th IT contractor said his company was awarded at least five contracts within the stipulated period.

According to him, in 2017, his company was awarded an “enterprise storage and servers” contract by the CBN.

But he said after the execution of the the contract, he was approached by John Ikechukwu Ayoh, a former director of CBN that the “management needs something” from the contract.

He added that Ayoh told him that if he did not agree to pay the bribe, the funds meant for the contract would be deployed for another use by the CBN.

Ayoh who testified as the second prosecution witness had during his last testimony told the court how he collected $600,000 as bribe from a contractor allegedly on behalf of the former CBN Governor.

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Also, Ayoh, in the continuation of his cross-examination, said he had a confrontation with Emefiele because he asked him to do something wrong.

The witness, who further confirmed that he was sidelined by the embattled governor, added that his being sidelined made him not to have any relationship with him.

“I was not happy being unpopular with the former CBN governor, but on a number of occasions, I signed contract letters to vendors.

“While I was a director with the CBN, my loyalty was to the bank and the Nigerian nation and my relationship with Emefiele was only formal and based on instructions.

“The governor and the four deputy governors of the bank, alongside the directors, make up the management of the CBN,” he said.

Also on Thursday, a Compliance Officer with the Zenith Bank, Mr Clement Ngolu, tendered a bundle of documents against Emefiele.

Ngolu, who is the third prosecution tendered the documents through by the EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN).

The documents were admitted into evidence following a no-objection submission from the first defence counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN), and the second defense counsel, Mr. Adeyinka Kotoye (SAN)

Justice Rahman Oshodi admitted the original copies of Zenith Bank account opening package, statement of account of Limelight Multidimensional Services Ltd., sent to the EFCC in evidence.

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“I have read the documents dated March 2024, and I admit the original certified copy of the bundles of documents which include account opening package, statement of accounts in evidence and are marked as Exhibit A,” Oshodi said.

Ngolu, in his evidence, said his department responded to regulators and law enforcement agencies in order to ensure that the bank activities were in line with banking policies and regulations.

He added that his department worked with agencies such as the EFCC, the Nigeria Police, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.

The witness said that his department, in 2014, got a request from the EFCC to furnish them with statements of accounts of Limelight and two other accounts.

“The documents we sent to the EFCC were duly signed by the staff of the bank.

“The process of generating the statement was through our computer system which was in good condition.

“The documents were printed out from the company’s computer which was working well and the documents were in the bank’s custody,” the witness said.

The defence, however, said they had no question for the witness.

The EFCC had, on April 8, arraigned Emefiele on 23 counts bordering on abuse of office, accepting gratifications, corrupt demand, receiving property fraudulently obtained and conferring corrupt advantage.

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Also, his co-defendant was arraigned on three counts bordering on acceptance of gift by agents.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The judge adjourned the case until May 17, for continuation of trial.

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