The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, is reportedly ready to return over N 1.6 billion to the federal government as part of a plea bargain deal to avoid prosecution over alleged fraud at the apex bank.
Emefiele was arraigned last week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a six-count charge of procurement fraud involving N1.6 billion. This was a reduced charge from the initial 20 counts of N6.5 billion that he faced. He has been remanded at Kuje Correctional Centre pending the outcome of his trial.
However, according to ThisNigeria, Emefiele is seeking to negotiate with the government to refund some of the money he allegedly looted from the CBN in exchange for a lenient sentence or a dismissal of the case.
A reliable source told the newspaper that the amount Emefiele is willing to return is a fraction of what he actually stole from the CBN. The source said: “He is willing to refund some money to secure a plea bargain, but I can’t give you a figure. Even what he wants to return is a scratch from what we believe he owns.”
Another source revealed that the N1.6 billion Emefiele is being tried for is just the tip of the iceberg, as the ongoing investigations by the Special Investigator, Jim Obazee, may have uncovered a massive fraud by the former CBN governor to the tune of N3 trillion.
“The N1.6 billion that Emefiele is being charged for is the tip of the iceberg which the EFCC has arraigned him for. It is a slap on the wrist as what the Special Investigator may have uncovered is up to the tune of N3 trillion,” he said.
Another top CBN source disclosed that Emefiele allegedly misappropriated funds from various sources, including the COVID-19 funds and the Anchor Borrowers scheme, which were meant to support the economy and the farmers.
He also said that Emefiele was involved in foreign exchange manipulation, abuse of CBN rules, and other shady deals.
He further claimed that Emefiele operated over 300 accounts without Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) through family members and proxies.
“Some of the names were those of close family members,” he added.
The source also stated that the main subhead through which Emefiele perpetrated the fraud was the ’Ways and Means’ of the CBN, which is a mechanism for the CBN to lend money to the government.