CBN contractor recounts how he gave $600,000 bribe to ex-CBN staff for contract

A contractor with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Victor Onyejiuwa, on Friday, told the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja that he had no dealings with the former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele.

He said that the $600,000 he was asked to pay to the management of the CBN before he would be paid for the contract he executed for the apex bank, was paid to the former CBN director of Information Technology, John Ayoh.

Onyejiuwa, the Managing Director of Resource Computer Limited, testified in Emefiele’s ongoing trial, said all his communication with Ayoh was done via Whatsapp.

He said the first payment he made to John Ayoh was $400,000 in Lagos, while the second payment of $200,000 was paid in Abuja.

Onyejiuwa said he didn’t get any letter of authorisation from the CBN management that he should pay bribe for the contract that was awarded to his company.

The witness, who was cross-examined by Emefiele’s lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, told the court that it was Ayoh that signed the award of the contract and the completion.

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

Onyejiuwa said that after Ayoh left the CBN, he still did other contacts with the bank till 2019, and was paid in due time, adding that no bribe was demanded from him.

He said the contracts he executed after Ayoh left the CBN were done while Emefiele was still the governor of apex bank.

“I did 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,” the witness said.

Asked whether he had any conversation with any of the CBN deputy governors, to find out if Ayoh had the authority to collect the $600,000 bribe he answered in the negative.” No, I did not”.

When asked if Ayoh showed him any communication between himself (Ayoh) and Emefiele about the delivery of the money, he said no.

Under cross-examination, he also admitted that he did not have any direct instructions from Emefiele.

“I have never met him before; my dealings with CBN management were through John Ayoh,” he said.

When the witness was asked if he showed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission a letter demanding a bribe, he said no.

Asked who the money was delivered to, he said it was delivered to Ayoh, in his office and after the payment was made, it was an official of the IT department that signed.

The embattled Emefiele and his co-defendant, Henry Omoile, are currently facing trial on 26 counts bordering on abuse of office and alleged $4.5bn and N2.8bn fraud.

The former CBN governor and Omoile pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

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

According to him, 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.

“The official said there was pressure on him. I told him that our payment was being delayed. He told me that if I didn’t accede to his request, my payment would not be approved.

“After several back and forth, I succumbed to his pressure. I was able to organise the sum of $400,000 and $200,000 to facilitate payment of the contract funds. Within two or three weeks after, the payment was made,” the witness said.

However, the case was adjourned till July 9, 10, for continuation of trial.

Culled from Punch