CBN Governor’s Wife Linked to Alleged Abuse of Office as Witness Reveals Financial Transactions

Mrs. Ifeoma Ogbonnaya, Business Relationship Manager at Zenith Bank plc, testified in the Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos, on Tuesday, revealing how Godwin Emefiele, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), utilised his companies to secure various contracts from the apex bank.

Emefiele is currently on trial for alleged abuse of office and misappropriation of funds totalling $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion during his tenure as CBN governor.

Emefiele is facing a 26-count charge alongside his co-defendant, Henry Isioma Omoile, in a trial presided over by Justice Rahman Oshodi.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) brought the charges against them.

Ifeoma Ogbonnaya, the fifth prosecution witness, testified in court that she had no direct dealings with Emefiele but received instructions from his wife, Margaret Emefiele, to transfer funds from the CBN into their private companies’ Zenith Bank account, revealing a potential conflict of interest and abuse of power.

Ifeoma Ogbonnaya, the witness, testified that she received instructions not only from Mrs. Margaret Emefiele but also from two other individuals, John Ogah and the late Opeyemi Oludimu, who was an aide to Emefiele.

Under questioning by EFCC prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), Ogbonnaya revealed that she received these instructions through various channels, including her official email, phone calls, and WhatsApp messages, detailing how she carried out transactions based on these instructions.

Ogbonnaya testified before Justice Oshodi that the companies that received funds from the CBN were Limelight Multidimensional Ltd, Come Support Services Ltd, Ambswin Resources Ltd, and Magofarm. She revealed that Emmanuel initially opened the accounts for Emefiele’s companies, but new signatories took over in 2021, specifically Stephen and Patricia.

However, Ogbonnaya emphasised that all transfer instructions to these accounts were directed by Margaret Emefiele, indicating her control over the financial transactions.

“Whenever she sends us instructions or sends it through the other two people that works with them, I usually confirm from her,” she said.

Limelight Multidimensional Ltd is responsible for managing the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) facilities situated in Alakija.

The witness said, “All transactions pertaining to power and fixing things that are not working was always done by the vendors.

“So far Answabian was basically used to provide diesel to their vendors.

“They have printing and minting company located at Ikoyi.”

Ogbonnaya testified that the account received several cash inflows from the apex bank between March 9 and 11, 2015, totalling N1,792,593 and N18,869,400. Additionally, she revealed that the account received further cash inflows from CBN on various dates, including: February 22, 2021, N42,988,758.75; July 21, 2022, N37,279,964.70; October 21, 2022, N44,641,077.60; May 10, 2023, N93,100,000 among other transactions.”

The application submitted by Olalekan Ojo (SAN), the counsel for Emefiele, to recall the first prosecution witness, Monday Obaze, for further cross-examination was granted by Justice Oshodi. However, the case has been adjourned until July 10 for the trial to resume.

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