Emefiele: I was pressured to offer $600k bribe, witness tells court

During the current trial of former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele, a prosecution witness named Victor Onyejiuwa testified yesterday before the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja. He detailed the pressure he faced to pay $600,000 for the award of a contract.

Emefiele and his co-defendant, Henry Omoile, are currently facing trial on a 26-count charge.

Meanwhile, Justice Rahman Oshodi granted the request by Emefiele’s counsel, Olakekan Ojo, SAN, to file a notice of leave to appeal his decision (at the appeal court) deferring ruling on the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Emefiele’s legal counsel insists that the Ikeja High Court lacks the jurisdiction to hear the matter as it borders on Foreign Exchange, which is in the Exclusive list in the constitution.

Onyejiuwa who is the Managing Director of Resource Computer Limited, while being led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, prosecution counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, told the court that his company offers services to both private and public enterprises.

He said his company deploys hardware and software-tailored solutions that address Security, Network, Storage, Backup Solutions, Data Protection and Recovery, Virtualization, Data Center Solutions, ICT Training & Education Services and a host of other ICT needs.

Onyejiuwa told the court that his company, provided information and communication technologies assistance to the apex bank between 2014 and 2019.

The witness said his company was awarded at least five contracts within the stipulated period.

He added that sometime in 2017, his company was awarded an “enterprise storage and servers” contract by the CBN

The contractor said after the contract was executed by his company, he was approached by a former director at the CBN that the “management needs something” from the contract.

The witness said the director told him that if he did not accede, the funds meant for the contract would be delayed by the apex bank.

He said: “After the contract had been executed, I was accosted by the director, who insisted that the management was requesting something from the transaction.

“He 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, for him to see reasons with me on why I needed to get paid, and my obligations with my partners, I succumbed to his pressure.

“I was able to organise the sum of $400k and $200k to facilitate payment of the contract funds. Within two or three weeks after, payment was made. That is what happened.”

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