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Nigerian court adjourns suspended central bank governor’s fraud hearing

Nigerian court adjourns suspended central bank governor’s fraud hearing
The President of Nigeria Bola Ahmed Tinubu, (centre), and leaders of the Economic Community of West African States meet to discuss the political situation in Niger, in Abuja, Nigeria, 10 August 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE/STR)

A Nigerian court in the capital Abuja adjourned a hearing on Thursday for suspended central bank governor Godwin Emefiele, who is facing a 20-count fraud charge, due to the absence of a second defendant on the case, a government lawyer said.

The matter was adjourned to Aug 23 after a co-defendant on the indictment became ill and was unable to be in court. Nigerian law requires defendants to take their plea in person.

Emefiele, who is being charged alongside a central bank employee and a private firm for alleged procurement fraud, was therefore unable to enter a plea.

Emefiele was suspended by President Bola Tinubu in June and has already pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing a firearm illegally — charges which were subsequently withdrawn.

Government lawyers on Tuesday announced additional graft charges against the governor, including allegedly “conferring unlawful advantages” and “unlawful procurement”.

(Reporting by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo and Camillus Eboh; editing by Christina Fincher)

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