Nigeria accuses former central bank boss to $6.2 million fraud

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s former central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele was on Friday charged with fraud, including obtaining $6.2 million in bank funds under false pretences, part of 20 charges levelled against him by prosecutors.

Emefiele entered a not guilty plea.

The former Central Bank of Nigeria chief is the most high profile official to face corruption charges under the administration of President Bola Tinubu, who came to power last year following a disputed election.

A court official read out the 20 charges against Emefiele, comprising 14 new ones and six that he had already faced.

His trial will begin next month.

Prosecutors said Emefiele “knowingly obtained by false pretence the sum of $6.2 million by falsely representing the secretary to the government of the federation through a letter … and requested the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide a logistic advance” for foreign election observer missions.

He was also accused of twice awarding contracts to renovate the bank’s official residence in Lagos to a company owned by his wife and brother-in-law, a case of criminal breach of trust.

Emefiele was suspended by Tinubu last June, which led to his arrest by state security officials. He resigned in August, paving the way for the appointment of new central bank governor Olayemi Cardoso in September.

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Editing by Alex Richardson)