Nigeria files corruption charges against former central bank governor


In a major development in Nigeria’s ongoing battle against corruption, prosecutors have filed corruption charges against the former central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele.

The 20-count indictment includes charges of “conferring unlawful advantages”, according to a government lawyer. This move comes as President Bola Tinubu embarks on bold reforms in the country’s economy and launches a probe into the central bank’s policies under Emefiele’s leadership.

It remains unclear what specific charges have been brought against Emefiele, but court documents from the Attorney General’s Office last month indicated that he faced criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation of funds, and other serious charges, which carry lengthy prison sentences. Emefiele, who made an unprecedented run for the Nigerian presidency last year, was suspended by Tinubu on June 9 and has been held in detention by the secret police since June 10.

Nigeria files corruption charges against former central bank governor
Nigeria files corruption charges against former central bank governor.

Initially, Emefiele pleaded not guilty to a charge of possessing a firearm. However, a judge granted him bail on July 25 following his plea, only for him to be rearrested immediately. In light of these new charges, the government lawyer has stated that they are withdrawing the firearms case at the Federal High Court in Lagos, indicating a shift in focus towards the corruption allegations.

Emefiele has filed an application for bail and is challenging his detention, but he has yet to publicly respond to the accusations. This situation has caused significant speculation and concern both domestically and internationally, as the former central bank governor was widely regarded as a key figure in Nigeria’s financial sector.

President Tinubu’s decision to probe the central bank’s policies under Emefiele’s leadership demonstrates his commitment to tackling corruption and promoting transparency in Nigeria’s economy.

With Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria plays a crucial role in the region and its success is pivotal for the stability and growth of the continent as a whole. The outcome of this case will not only impact Emefiele’s personal future but will also have significant implications for the country’s financial sector and its reputation on the global stage.

He introduced a multiple exchange rate policy to keep the currency artificially strong, Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu’s predecessor, had viewed as a matter of national pride.

Appointed by Buhari for a second five-year term in 2019, Emefiele was due to retire next year. He was the second-longest-serving governor of the central bank and oversaw the biggest economic downturn of Africa’s largest economy.

Abubakar Momoh
Abubakar Momoh is a distinguished West African correspondent for Who Owns Africa and an alumnus of the esteemed University of California. With exceptional skills and deep understanding of the socio-political landscape of the West Africa region, Abubakar consistently delivers thought-provoking and insightful reports. His commitment to journalism and his relentless pursuit of truth have earned him a well-deserved reputation as a trusted and influential voice in the field.


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