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I Paid $600,000 Bribe To Ex-CBN Staff For Contract Under Emefiele – Witness Reveals

Victor Onyejiuwa, a witness in the trial of the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Ememfiele, has claimed that he paid the sum of $600,000 bribe to a former staff of the apex bank for a contract.

Onyejiuwa, a contractor with the apex and the Managing Director of Resource Computer Limited, made this known on Friday at the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja.

He gave the testimony in the trial of Emefiele and his co-defendant, Henry Omoile, who are currently facing trial on 26 counts bordering on abuse of office and alleged $4.5 billion and N2.8 billion fraud.

He told the court that he had no dealings with Emefiele but that the $600,000 he was asked to pay to the CBN management before he would be paid for the contract was paid to the former CBN Director of Information Technology, John Ayoh.

Onyejiuwa said that he communicated with Ayoh exclusively via Whatsapp. He added that he made the first payment of $400,000 in Lagos and the second of $200,000 in Abuja.

The witness said that he did not get a letter of authorisation from the CBN management to pay a bribe for the contract that was awarded to his company.

Cross-examined by Emefiele’s lawyer, Olalekan Ojo (SAN), Onyejiuwa told the court that Ayoh signed the contract award and completion.

He said: “The first contract that was awarded to his company was N1.3bn, while the second was $2.1m.”

He said that after Ayoh left the CBN, he continued to contact the bank until 2019 and was paid in due time. He added that no bribe was demanded from him, and the contracts he executed after Ayoh left the CBN were done while Emefiele was still the governor of Apex Bank.

Onyejiuwa was quoted as saying, “I made a new contract with the CBN, and no bribe was demanded, and the payment for the contract was paid in due time. I executed the contract while Godwin Emefiele was still the CBN governor.

When asked whether he had spoken with any of the CBN deputy governors to determine whether Ayoh had the authority to collect the $600,000 bribe, Onyejiuwa answered in the negative.

Asked if Ayoh showed him any communication between himself and Emefiele about the delivery of the money, the witness also asneered in the negative.

Onyejiuwa further admitted that he did not have any direct instructions from Emefiele, saying, “I have never met him before; my dealings with CBN management were through John Ayoh.”

Asked if he showed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a letter demanding a bribe, Onyejiuwa said no.

When he was asked who the money was delivered to, Onyejiuwa told the court that it was delivered to Ayoh in his office. He added that after the payment was made, an official of the IT department signed.

Recall that Onyejiuwa, on the last adjourned date in his examination-in-chief, had told the trial judge, Justice Rahman Oshodi, that he was pressured into paying $600,000 before he was paid for a contract.

He told the court that sometime in 2017, he got an ‘enterprise storage and servers’ from the CBN, and after executing the job, he was approached by a senior official who told him that his payment would not be approved if he did not pay certain sums.

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