The suspended Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has reportedly opted for plea bargain.
The Nation reports that as part of the out-of-court settlement terms, Emefiele will forfeit any illicit funds and questionable assets traced to him. It is however not certain if any illicit fund has been linked to him.
The report adds that Emefiele will also step aside as the CBN governor to enable the government to appoint a substantive holder. It was also gathered that Emefiele and his relations will withdraw all matters in court.
On Wednesday, August 23, an Abuja Court struck out a suit filed by the embattled CBN governor challenging his detention. His siblings – George and Okanta – withdrew the two suits they filed against the Department of State Service (DSS) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
Some highly-placed Nigerians were said to have interceded for Emefiele to make government accept the plea bargain offer. The turn of event on his trial was said to have both “legal and political tones to avoid anything which may have negative impacts on the economic agenda of the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
Emefiele is standing trial for alleged violation of the procurement law to the tune of N6.9 billion.
A source was quoted as saying Emefiele was worried about the likely dragging of his trial for years, as and members his family weighed all options and settled for plea bargain. They added that the Federal Government’s legal team and Emefiele’s lawyers were perfecting the terms of settlement.
“Emefiele has considered all options and chose out- of-court settlement which may lead to his freedom if the terms are agreeable to both parties. He felt he may face multiple trials and he doesn’t want to go the whole hog of being in and out of court. For instance, since the time he was arrested, it has been difficult to verify his assets. So, he has a Code of Conduct case pending. But the plea bargain appeared the smartest option for him, according to our source. He is expected to forfeit any suspicious cash and assets traced to him by law enforcement and anti-graft agencies.”
Speaking further, the source said;
“Emefiele will step aside as the CBN governor. He may either resign or be sent on compulsory retirement. This will enable the government to appoint a substantive CBN governor. The settlement will allow the government to avoid a repeat of the legal challenges associated with the removal of a former CBN governor, Mal. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.”