Court grants bail to Nigerian ex-central bank governor Godwin Emefiele facing fraud charges

Godwin Emefiele as he arrived court on Tuesday, July 25, 2023

A Nigerian court has freed on bail former central bank governor Godwin Emefiele, who has been charged with six counts of fraud and corruption.

Emefiele, suspended as head of the central bank in June and detained by the security services, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Hamza Muazu, on Wednesday, November 22, 2023, granted Emefiele bail subject to the provision of a 300 million naira (roughly $333,000) bond and two sureties with properties in the upmarket Maitama district of the country’s capital Abuja.

“I hereby admit the applicant (Emefiele) to bail subject to his appearance in court,” Justice Muazu said in his ruling.

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The judge asked Emefiele to deposit his travelling documents with the court and remain in Abuja, while the case against him proceeded.

Emefiele has been accused of “conferring corrupt advantage.”

Prosecutors cut the charges from a previous 20-count indictment, which he faced along with two others, so he could be tried separately and quickly.

The ex-central bank chief has not commented publicly on the case.

Emefiele was governor of the central bank for nine years, mostly under current President Bola Tinubu’s predecessor Muhammadu Buhari. He oversaw a much-criticised system of multiple exchange rates used to keep the local naira currency artificially strong.

He resigned in August, paving the way for Tinubu’s appointment of new central bank governor Olayemi Cardoso.

Tinubu said at his inauguration in May that central bank policy needed “thorough house-cleaning.”