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How Emefiele moved millions to wife’s account — Witness tells court

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Ifeoma Ogbonnaya, an Assistant Manager at Zenith Bank Plc, on Tuesday, July 9, told an Ikeja Special Offences Court how the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele allegedly transferred millions of naira to his wife, Margaret.

She explained that Emefiele used the bank to move multimillion-naira amounts to his wife’s accounts.

Ogbonnaya testified before Justice Rahman Oshodi, revealing that millions of naira were also transferred in multiple tranches to various company accounts.

Emefiele is currently facing charges of abuse of office and alleged fraud involving $4.5 billion and ₦2.8 billion during his tenure.

He is being tried in three separate courts in Lagos and Abuja, alongside his co-defendant Henry Omoile.

Ogbonnaya specified that the companies receiving these funds included Amswing Resources and Solution, Limelight Dimensional Service Ltd., Omec Support Service Ltd., and Mango Farm.

“Limelight manages CBN facilities at Alakija, handling transactions related to power and maintenance,” Ogbonnaya said.

The witness, a Business Relationship Manager who joined the bank in 2006, stated that while she never dealt directly with the ex-CBN governor, she received instructions from his wife to transfer funds from CBN to their private companies via a Zenith Bank account.

Ogbonnaya also mentioned that she received directives from Mr. John Ogah and the late Mr. Opeyemi Oludimu, both of whom worked for the Emefieles.

She managed the various company accounts used for transferring these funds, stressing that Margaret Emefiele was the primary beneficiary.

“Mrs. Margaret Emefiele, the ex-CBN governor’s wife, is the direct beneficiary of the accounts.

“The companies sent transfer instructions to my email, and Margaret is the beneficial owner of the accounts. All transactions were confirmed by Mrs. Emefiele before processing,” Ogbonnaya testified.

Ogbonnaya detailed specific transactions, stating that from March 9 to 11, 2015, the accounts received ₦18.9 million and ₦1.8 million, respectively. Further transfers included ₦43 million on February 22, 2021; ₦37.3 million on July 21, 2022; ₦44.6 million on October 21, 2022; and ₦93.1 million on May 10, 2023.

The witness further explained that she typically communicated with Emefiele’s wife via email, phone calls, and WhatsApp to discuss transactions that were to be executed on the accounts before processing them.

Ogbonnaya confirmed that detailed transaction records were printed from her office desktop computer.

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