May 18, 2024

Alleged fraud: I didn’t give Emefiele bribe for contract – Witness tells court


By Henry Ojelu

A prosecution witness, Victor Onyejiuwa, on Friday, told the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja that the alleged $600,000 he was asked to pay for the contract he executed for the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, was paid to the  former apex bank Director of Information Technology, John Ayoh and not to the embattled ex-CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

Onyejiuwa who is the Managing Director of Resource Computer Limited, stated this while being cross examined by Emefiele’s lawyer , Mr Olalekan Ojo, SAN.

The witness who stated that  all his communication with Ayoh was done via Whatsapp, noted that first bribe payment he made to Ayoh was $400,000, in Lagos and the second payment of $200,000 was made in Abuja.

Onyejiuwa also stated that he didn’t get any letter of authorization from the CBN management that he should pay bribe for the contract that was awarded to his company but that it was Ayoh that signed the award of the contract and the completion.

He however noted that after Ayoh left the CBN, he still did other contacts with CBN till 2019 when  Emefiele was still in charge and that he was paid in due time and no bribe was demanded from him.

“I have never met him (Emefiele) before. My dealings with the CBN management was through Ayoh.

” I did a new contract with CBN and no bribe was demanded and the payment for the contract was paid in due time

” I executed the contract while Godwin Emefiele was still the CBN governor,” the witness said.

Asked whether he had any conversation with any of the CBN deputy governors, to find out  if Ayoh had the authority to collect the $600,000 bribe he answered in the negative.” No, I did not”.

When asked if Ayoh showed him any communication between himself (Ayoh) and Emefiele about the delivery of the money, he said no.

The witness was also asked if he showed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC a letter demanding for bribe, he said no.

Asked who the money was delivered to he said it was delivered to Ayoh, in his office and after the payment was made it was an official of the IT department that signed.

The embattled Emefiele and his co-defendant, Henry Omoile, are currently facing trial on 26 counts, bordering on abuse of office alleged $4.5bn and N2.8bn fraud.

The former CBN governor and Omoile pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Onyejiuwa on the last adjourned date in his examination in chief had told Justice Rahman Oshodi, that

he was pressured to pay $600,000 before he was paid for a contract.

According to him, sometime in 2017, he got an ‘enterprise storage and servers’ from the CBN and after executing the job, he was approached by a senior official who told him that his payment would not be approved if he did not pay certain sums.

“The official said there was pressure on him. I told him that our payment was being delayed. He told me that if I didn’t accede to his request, my payment would not be approved.

“After several back and forth, I succumbed to his pressure. I was able to organise the sum of $400,000 and $200,000 to facilitate payment of the contract funds.

“Within two or three weeks after, the payment was made. That is what happened,” the witness said.

However the case was adjourned till July 9, 10, for continuation of trial.