Nigerian court grants bail to ex-central bank chief facing fraud charges

Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele speaks during the launch of the new Nigerian currency in Abuja, Nigeria November 23, 2022. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde
Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele

After facing six fraud and corruption charges, a Nigerian court released Godwin Emefiele on bond on Wednesday. Emefiele, held by security forces after being removed as the head of the central bank in June, has entered a not-guilty plea to the accusations.

Judge Hamza Muazu granted Emefiele bail in exchange for the provision of a bond for 300 million naira, or roughly $333,000, and the presence of two sureties who owned homes in Abuja’s affluent Maitama neighborhood.

In his decision, Justice Muazu stated, “I, as a result of this, admit the applicant (Emefiele) to bail subject to his appearance in court.”

The judge ordered Emefiele to stay in Abuja and submit his travel papers to the court while the case against him was pending.

The charge against Emefiele is “conferring corrupt advantage.” To expedite his trial, prosecutors reduced the counts from a prior 20-count indictment that he was facing in addition to two others.
The former head of the central bank has remained silent about the subject in public.

Emefiele served as the central bank’s governor for nine years, most of which he spent under Muhammadu Buhari, the predecessor of current President Bola Tinubu. He was in charge of a much-criticized system of fluctuating exchange rates that maintained the artificial strength of the local naira.

His resignation in August made room for Tinubu to install Olayemi Cardoso as the central bank’s next governor.

During his May inauguration, Tinubu stated that “thorough house cleaning” was necessary for central bank policies.

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