JUST IN: Emefiele’s co-defendant Sa’adatu Yaro has separate money laundering case

Sa’adatu Yaro, a co-defendant in the latest charges filed against the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has a pending money laundering case in court.

She is billed for arraignment alongside Mr Emefiele in a fresh case of procurement fraud at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja on Thursday….CONTINUE READING

Before Emefiele was arrested and was subsequently charged, Mrs Yaro had been facing money laundering charges.

On 22 May, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), arraigned her before Justice Obiora Egwuatu, of the Federal High Court in Abuja for alleged N140 billion money laundering charges.

She was arraigned alongside her company, Tsami Babi Resources Limited, for failing in her duty as director to disclose the financial transactions of the firm to the Federal Ministry of Commerce.

Some of the alleged infractions were the financial transactions in Tsami Babi Resources Limited’s account with a new generation bank to the tune of over N100 billion which were not disclosed to the Ministry of Commerce.

“…Saadatu Ramallan Yaro, being a Director Of Tsami Babi Resources Limited, a Designated Non-Financial Institution, between 5th July, 2021 and 20th day of April, 2022, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, failed to submit to the Ministry of Commerce, a declaration of activities of the said company within which period the total sum of N20,967,535,184.00(Twenty Billion, Nine Hundred and Sixty-seven Million, Five Hundred and Thirty Five Thousand, One Hundred and Eighty-Four Naira was deposited into the Company’s account No.1216254641 domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc,” one of the charges read.

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The EFCC said the alleged offence violates “sections 5(1) (a), 16(1) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act”.

In another charge, Ms Ramallan-Yaro was charged alongside M.A.Y FINE FRAGRANCE LIMITED, a designated non-financial institution for money laundering to the tune of N40 billion.

Upon the defendants arraignment, Ms Ramalan-Yaro pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the May hearing, the prosecution lawyer, Faruk Abdullah, urged the judge to set a date for trial.

But, the defendants’ lawyer, Joseph Daudu, a Senior Advocate of (SAN), prayed the court to admit his client to bail.

Subsequently, Justice Egwuatu granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties in like sum.

The judge also added that one of the sureties must be a public servant and the other a relation.

Justice Egwuatu ordered Ms Ramalan-Yaro to deposit her international passport with the court Chief Registrar and adjourned the suit for trial.

A couple of weeks before Ms Ramalan-Yaro’s arraignment at the Federal High Court in Abuja, she was arraigned in Lagos by the anti-graft agency for alleged money laundering, the Punch Newspaper reported.

Fresh charges

In a fresh set of charges, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mohammed Abubakar, disclosed that Mr Ramallan-Yaro is an employee of the CBN.

Emefiele and Ms Ramalan-Yaro and her company, April 1616 Investment Limited, are due for arraignment on Thursday at the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja.

The prosecution accuses Mr Emefiele of conferring corrupt advantages on Ms Ramallan-Yaro through the award of contracts to her company up to the tune of N99.9 million for the supply of cars.

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Court filings showed that the alleged transactions took place between 2018 and 2020, involving the sum of N6.9 billion.

In count one, Mr Emefiele was said to have “sometime in 2018 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did use your position as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro, a staff member of the Central Bank of Nigeria by awarding a contract for the supply of 37 (Nos.) Toyota Hilux Vehicles at the cost of N854,700,000 only to April 1616 Investment Ltd, a company in which she is a director and thereby committed an offence.”

In another count, the suspended CBN chief, Ms Yaro and her company “sometime in 2019 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did conspire amongst yourselves to use the office of Mr. Godwin Ifeanyi Emefiele as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Ramallan Yaro, a staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria by awarding a contract for the supply of 1 (No.) Toyota Landcruiser V8 at the cost of N73,800,000 only to April 1616 Investment Ltd.,‘’ the charge stated.

According to count 10, “Ms Yaro, sometime in 2018 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court while being employed at the CBN knowingly held directly a private interest as director in April1616 Investment Ltd., in a contract awarded to the said company, for the supply of 47 Toyota Hilux vehicles at the cost of N1,085, 700,000 and thereby committed an offence.’’

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Count 11 says: “That you, Sa’adatu Rammala Yaro, female, adult, sometime in 2018 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court while being employed at the CBN knowingly held directly a private interest as director in April1616 Investment Ltd., in a contract awarded to the said company, emanating from the CBN where you are employed, for the supply of 10 Mercedes Benz armoured buses at the cost of N2,222, 500,00 and thereby committed an offence.’’

President Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele as the CBN governor on 9 June.

The next day, 10 June, the SSS picked him up in Lagos and flew him to its headquarters in Abuja for interrogation.

Emefiele has since remained in SSS custody. His co-defendant in the fresh case, Mrs Yaro, who was arrested alongside her husband, Aminu Yaro, on 12 July, is also still in custody.

This FCT High Court ordered the release of the couple on 25 July. But the order was not complied with.

It took an order of the FCT High Court on 13 July, more than a month after the arrest, for the SSS to file the charges of the firearms charges against Mr Emefiele.

Subsequently, on 25 July, the SSS arraigned him before the Federal High Court in Lagos on two charges of “illegal possession” of firearms and live ammunition….CONTINUE READING

The government on Tuesday applied to have the firearms possession charges against Mr Emefiele dropped.