The ongoing plea bargaining efforts by the embattled suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and the Nigerian government is being arranged by a former Delta State governor and United Kingdom ex-convict, James Ibori, who has become one of President Bola Tinubu’s allies, SaharaReporters had reported.
According to the report, Ibori who was himself accused of multi-million fraud in the UK and spent time in prison is presently working behind the scenes for Emefiele to plead to lesser charges and get released.
SaharaReporters had on Wednesday reported that the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed against the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by two brothers of Emefiele had been withdrawn.
The court’s vacation judge, Justice Emmanuel Okpe, had struck out the suit on Wednesday after the applicants through their lawyer informed the court of their decision to discontinue the case.
It was also earlier reported that the trial of the embattled former CBN governor was on Wednesday stalled at the High Court of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) following his plan to enter into plea bargaining to get soft-landing, according to sources.
Emefiele is facing 20 counts of conspiracy and procurement fraud levelled against him by President Bola Tinubu-led Nigerian government. He was on August 17, 2023, brought to court under tight security.
He was scheduled to be arraigned today (Wednesday) and take his plea before the presiding judge, Justice Hamza Muazu, but the case was not listed in the cause list.
No official reason was given by the court or the lawyers but findings by SaharaReporters revealed that Emefiele had agreed to enter into plea bargaining with the prosecution in line with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
It was learnt from lawyers involved in the case that Emefiele opted to enter into plea bargaining with the prosecution team
Top sources on Thursday informed SaharaReporters that Ibori was the mastermind of the plea bargaining “scam” by the CBN governor.
“The plea bargain scam between the FG and Emefiele is being arranged by Ibori. He is arranging for Emefiele to plead to lesser charges and get released. He is arranging for him to forfeit an incomplete building in Abuja and pay a fine of N10million,” one of the sources said.
Earlier, the suspended CBN governor’s siblings – George Emefiele and Okanta Emefiele, had filed separate ex-parte motions at the court seeking order of the court to enforce their fundamental rights to freedom of movement among others by issuing perpetual injunction restraining the DSS from inviting, intimidating, harassing and arresting or detaining them in relation “to matters or body of matters which relates to the ongoing investigation of Mr. Godwin Emefiele and/or matters outside the constitutional and statutory mandate of the 1st respondent (DSS)”.
However, at the resumed hearing of the cases on Wednesday, counsel for the applicants, Grace Ehusani, informed the court that the applicants separately filed notice of discontinuance of the case.
The lawyer, however, did not explain to the court why the applicants decided to discontinue the cases.
The counsel for the DSS, Ibrahim Awo, who did not oppose the discontinuance applications by Emefiele’s brothers, however, urged the court to dismiss the case, instead of striking it out as requested by the applicants’ counsel.
The DSS counsel also demanded a substantial cost of N2 million against the applicants in favour of the respondents.
The counsel for the AGF, Maimuma Lami-Sheru, also concurred with the submission of the DSS counsel and also demanded a N2 million cost.
Justice Okpe in his ruling struck out the cases and ordered that no cost should be paid by the applicants.