EFCC Files Charges Against Emefiele For Printing Naira Notes With N124.86bn Without NASS Approval

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed new charges against Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), alleging that he authorized the printing of naira notes with N124.86bn without the approval of the National Assembly.

Emefiele is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday before Judge Maryann Anenih at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) high court, adding to the mounting legal challenges he had faced over his tenure at the CBN.

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According to the charge, the EFCC alleged that Emefiele approved the printing of naira notes without obtaining the required approvals from former President Muhammadu Buhari and the CBN board. The anti-graft agency also claimed that his action had was caused public harm.

One of the charge sheet reads, “That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of N375,520,000.00 pieces of colour swapped N1, 000, at the total cost of N11,052, 068,062 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

“That you, GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE, between the 19th of October 2022 and 5th of March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, by approving the printing of 172,000,000 pieces of colour swapped N500 (Five Hundred Naira) Notes, at the total cost of N4, 471,066,040 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.

“That you GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE between the 19th day of October 2022 and 5th March 2023 in Abuja, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007, by approving the printing of 137,070,000 pieces of colour-swapped N200 (Two Hundred Naira) Note, at the total cost of N3, 441, 005, 280 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence.”

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Similar charges involve the unauthorised printing of N500 and N200 notes and the withdrawal of N124.8bn from the consolidated revenue fund in a manner not prescribed by the National Assembly.

“That you, GODWIN IFEANYI EMEFIELE, on or about the 7th day of October 2020, in Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, knowingly disobeyed the direction of Section 80 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended), by approving the withdrawal of the total sum of N124, 860, 227, 865.16 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation in a manner not prescribed by the National Assembly, which conduct of yours caused injury to the public and you thereby committed an offence,” it added.

Recall in October 26, 2022, Emefiele announced the redesign of Nigeria’s highest denomination banknotes to control the money supply and support security agencies in tackling illicit financial flows.

The redesigned notes were to become effective from mid-December 2022, with the old notes ceasing to be legal tender by January 31, 2023. The policy, however, led to a scarcity of old notes, and sparked violent protests and attacks on banks and ATMs across the country.

While the policy received public endorsement from President Buhari, it faced criticism from analysts who viewed it as politically motivated.

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Emefiele is already embroiled in several legal battles over his tenure as the CBN governor. In November 2023, he was arraigned before Judge Hamza Muazu of the FCT high court on a six-count charge, which was later increased to 20 counts, including alleged criminal breach of trust, forgery, and procurement fraud. Emefiele pleaded not guilty to these charges.

Also, in April, the EFCC arraigned Emefiele at the Lagos high court on a 26-count charge bordering on abuse of office, to which he also pleaded not guilty. The fresh charges adds to the mounting legal challenges Emefiele is faced with, which makes another weighty development in the ongoing scrutiny of his actions during his tenure at the apex bank.

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