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Emefiele’s arraignment shifted due to alleged plea bargain offer

Emefiele’s arraignment shifted due to alleged plea bargain offer

The scheduled arraignment of the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele by the Nigerian government on a 20-count corruption charge failed to hold on Wednesday.

The prosecution failed to produce them in court. Lawyers to prosecution and the defence were also not sighted in court.

Although the court sat and conducted proceedings in relation to other cases, the case involving Emefiele and others was not mentioned as it was not listed on the cause list among cases to be heard on Wednesday.

According to a source conversant with the development, the arraignment was shifted at the instance of the embattled suspended CBN governor.

Nevertheless, Emefiele’s lawyer, Kehinde Akinlolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), when contacted on the phone, confirmed the shift in the arraignment.

According to him, a new date may likely be issued by the Chief Judge, Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf.

However, strong indications have emerged that the planned arraignment of Emefiele and Yaro might have been put off indefinitely.

It was also learnt that Emefiele and his co-defendant Yaro may have opted for a plea bargain option to settle with the Federal Government.

In a related development, two siblings of the suspended CBN Governor – George and Okanta – have withdrawn the two suits they filed against the State Security Service (SSS) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

They had filed the two fundamental rights enforcement suits to restrain the SSS over alleged plot to arrest them.

When both cases were called on Wednesday, their lawyer, Grace Ehusani informed the court about her clients’ applications for the withdrawal of the suits.

She gave no reasons for the withdrawal, but said it was as directed by the clients.

Counsel to the SSS, Ibrahim Awo and Mrs.Maimuna Lami-Shiru who represented the AGF did not object to the withdrawal, but requested the court to dismiss the cases.

While the SSS requested for a substantial cost, Counsel to the AGF, Shehu demanded for N2m.

Awo said he made it clear to the applicants at the commencement of the case that it would amount to a waste of the court’s time but was ignored.

However, while not objecting to the withdrawal of the case, Awo requested the court to strike out the case in addition to a substantial cost against the applicants.

Counsel to the AGF, Shehu also requested the court to strike out the case while asking for N2m as the cost against the Emefiele siblings.

Emefiele’s counsel, Ehusani argued against the N2m cost request, stating that the Order of Court does not support such an outrageous amount for withdrawal of cases.

In his ruling, Justice Edward Okpe struck out the cases at no cost to the applicants.

Justice Okpe noted that both respondents were government agencies who do not pay for what they file in court and are therefore, not entitled to cost.

 

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Faruk Khalil
Faruk Khalilhttps://nigeriansketch.com/
Khalil Faruk (Deputy Editor-in-Chief), has a Bachelors and Master's degree in Political Science and has worked as a reporter, features editor and Deputy Editor-in-Chief respectively in a leading Nigerian daily. He has undergone trainings in journalism, photo journalism and online journalism within and outside Nigeria.

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