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EFCC Arraigns Emefiele For Using N18.96bn To Print N684.5m Notes

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, on a fresh four-count…

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, on a fresh four-count charge of printing N684.5 million notes with the sum of N18.96 billion.

Emefiele was arraigned before Maryann Anenih, judge of a Federal High Court in Abuja, the nation’s capital, and pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

In the four-count charge filed against him, the EFCC alleged that Emefiele breached the order of the court with intent to harm during his implementation of the naira swap policy of the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to the anti-graft agency, the ex-CBN governor “disobeyed the direction of law with intent to cause injury to the public” by approving the printing of naira notes without “strict approval” from Buhari and the CBN board.

The EFCC further stated that Emefiele was accused of approving the withdrawal of N124.8 billion from the consolidated revenue fund “in a manner not prescribed by the national assembly”.

The charges filed against him are:

“That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of N375,520,000.00 pieces of colour swapped N1, 000, at the total cost of N11,052, 068,062 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence” .

“That you, GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE, between the 19th of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, by approving the printing of 172,000,000 pieces of colour swapped N500 (Five Hundred Naira) Notes, at the total cost of N4, 471,066,040 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.

“That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of 137,070,000 pieces of colour swapped N200 (Two Hundred Naira) Note, at the total cost of N3, 441, 005, 280 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.

“That you, GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE, on or about the 7th day of October 2020, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 80 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), by approving the withdrawal of the total sum of N124, 860, 227, 865.16 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in a manner not prescribed by the National Assembly, which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

Recall that the Nigerian public was plunged into untold hardship in the buildup to the 2023 general elections when the apex bank under Emefiele implemented naira swap, defending it as one of the ways to check vote buying.

On October 26, 2022, Emefiele disclosed the plan to redesign the highest denominations of the country’s currency namely N1000, N500 and N200 to control money supply and help security agencies in tackling illicit financial flows.

Emefiele had said the new notes would be effective from mid-December 2022, directing customers to deposit their old notes before January 31, 2023, when they would cease to be legal tender.

This led to scarcity of old naira notes which later fueled violent protests in many parts of the country as banks and automated teller machines (ATMs) were vandalised and razed.

While some governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) counted the plan as politically motivated, therefore heading to court, some sections of the Nigerian public from the opposition applauded the move.

The Supreme Court, however, canceled the deadline given by the CBN for the old notes, and also ordered that both old and new notes can be used as legal tender indefinitely which is existent till date.

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