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‘I Received $600,000 in Bribes for Emefiele,’ Former CBN Director Alleges

In a significant development at the Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos, on Monday, Mr. John Ayoh, a former Director of Information Technology at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), disclosed startling details regarding his alleged acceptance of $600,000 in bribes on behalf of the embattled former governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele.

Ayoh, who served eight years at the apex bank, made these revelations while providing evidence at the prompting of Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to Ayoh’s testimony, he received communication from the agency regarding two transactions he facilitated for Emefiele. The first instance involved the delivery of $400,000 at his residence in Lekki, while the second transaction, amounting to $200,000, took place at the Tinubu Head Office of the CBN.

As the Head of the Procurement and Support Services (PSS) Department, Ayoh clarified that his responsibilities encompassed receiving applications for contract awards and selecting successful bidders. He emphasized that these transactions occurred at different locations, with one at his residence and the other at the CBN office.

Ayoh further detailed that he personally delivered the second envelope of money to Emefiele’s office, as per the governor’s instructions to avoid involving third parties. He identified Mr. John Adeola as the intermediary who facilitated the delivery of the bribes.

Under cross-examination by Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Ayoh affirmed that while he directly worked under Emefiele, his duties did not include running errands for him. He clarified Emefiele’s role in the Major Contract Tender Committee (MCTC) and asserted that he had never been involved in any criminal activities.

Responding to queries about his statement, Ayoh stated that while he didn’t recall specific phrasing, his statement implied that the money in the envelopes aimed to influence contract awards. He adamantly denied being bribed and asserted that his involvement was limited to recommending contract awards.

Ayoh admitted to operating under duress while receiving the envelopes from contractors, implying coercion in his actions. The defense counsel’s request to admit Ayoh’s statement into evidence was granted by Justice Rahman Oshodi after deliberations.

The case was adjourned until May 3 for further cross-examination. Emefiele’s counsel requested his client’s release on self-recognition, citing pending bail applications, which the court considered for a decision.

The proceedings witnessed no objections from the defense counsel or the prosecution, leaving the decision regarding Emefiele’s release at the court’s discretion.

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