…opts for plea bargain as arraignment stalls again
. FG said to be disposed to arrangement as President is hamstrung by constitutional provisions to sack CBN gov
Strong indications emerged on Wednesday that the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, may afterall escape prosecution for alleged breach of procurement laws and contract inflation to the tune of N6.9billion.
It was gathered that the suspended CBN governor may settle out of court with the Federal Government over the fraud charges being brought against him.
Impeccable sources said that the Federal Government is disposed to Emefiele’s proposal for a plea bargain.
It was learnt that if the parties strike an agreement, Emefiele will resign as CBN governor and forfeit some of his assets.
Constitutionally, the President is not empowered to remove CBN governor from office. Section 11 of the CBN Act specifies the conditions under which an apex bank boss can be sacked.
Section 11 (2)(f) empowers the President to terminate a CBN governor’s appointment. But the sack of an apex bank boss “shall be supported by two-thirds majority of Senate praying that he be so removed.”
But if the President is unable to get two-thirds majority of the Senate to remove the CBN governor, the only other option is to wait until his conviction for a criminal offence by a court of competent jurisdiction as stipulated in Section 11 (2)(b).
But Section 13 (3) of the CBN Act allows a CBN governor to resign from office by giving a three-month notice in writing to the President.
Already, the planned arraignment of Emefiele, who is now seeking a plea bargain in the criminal suit filed against him by the FG, has been put off indefinitely, impeccable sources said.
The embattled apex bank boss’ arraignment on a 20-count charge slated for Wednesday (yesterday) by a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory was not on the court’s cause list.
Emefiele’s arraignment, it was learnt, was shifted at his instance.
Impeccable sources said that Emefiele and his-co accused, Saadat Yaro, a CBN employee and operator of a firm, April 1616 Investment Limited, opted for the plea bargain to settle with the Federal Government out of court.
Their arraignment initially scheduled for August 17, was stalled due to Yaro’s absence over alleged ill-health.
The case was then adjourned to August 23 (yesterday). But neither Emefiele nor Yaro showed up in court and the case was also not listed on the court’s cause list for the day.
On Wednesday, Emefiele’s lawyer, Kehinde Akinlolu SAN, confirmed the shift in his client’s arraignment.
Akinlolu, however, said that a new date may be fixed by the Chief Judge, Justice Hussein Baba Yusuf.
At the court on Wednesday, Department of State Services operatives, who usually escorted Emefiele to court, as well as his legal team, were not in court.
The court, however, went ahead with its proceedings on other matters on the cause list for the day.