Former CBN Director tells court he collected $600,000 bribe for ex-CBN boss, Emefiele

John Ayoh, a former Director of Information Technology (IT) at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Monday, presented his testimony as the second witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the ongoing trial of Godwin Emefiele, the suspended CBN governor.

Ayoh’s testimony centered on allegations of bribery. He claimed that he collected a total of $600,000 on Emefiele’s behalf from contractors in two installments.

He further elaborated that these payments were allegedly linked to contract awards within the CBN.

However, during cross-examination by Emefiele’s defense attorney, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Ayoh admitted that he felt pressured into facilitating this alleged bribery. This adds a layer of complexity to the case, potentially raising questions about potential coercion.

When questioned if he had ever been involved in any criminal activity, Ayoh responded in the negative but admitted that he had facilitated the commission of crime unknowingly.

“I believe I did admit in my statement that I was forced to commit the crime. I don’t know the exact word I used in my statement, but I said we were all forced with tremendous pressure to bend the rules,” he said

Emefiele, already facing legal challenges in Abuja, is now embroiled in this Lagos case brought by the EFCC.

The charges against him include abuse of office and accepting bribes totaling $4.5 million and N2.8 billion. Notably, Emefiele’s defense team contested the court’s jurisdiction in this matter, particularly regarding constitutional issues.

They argued for the dismissal of specific charges against their client (counts one to four and eight to 24).

Ayoh, appearing under the guidance of EFCC prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), revealed details about the alleged first bribe. He claimed to have received $400,000 on Emefiele’s behalf, which was subsequently collected by his assistant, John Adetola, at Ayoh’s residence in Lekki, Lagos State.

Ruling on the submissions of the counsel, Justice Oshodi said he would give his decision on jurisdiction when he delivered judgment as he adjourned till May 3.

He also directed the EFCC to serve the defence proof of evidence on witness number six and his extrajudicial statement.

This case is likely to be closely watched as it unfolds. Ayoh’s testimony sheds light on the allegations against Emefiele, while the defense team’s challenge to the court’s jurisdiction could potentially delay the proceedings

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