Uboh vs Emefiele: Justice Haliru rules against Uboh, admits statement allegedly made under duress as evidence
Justice Halilu Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, has admitted as evidence a statement reportedly made by Dr. George Uboh, the chairman of George Uboh Whistleblowers Network [GUWN], under duress while in detention at the Force CID Headquarters in Abuja.
The presiding judge, made the admission while ruling on the Trial Within Trial in the suit instituted against the Whistleblower by the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN], Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
The allegation is consequent to some alleged shoddy deal between officials of the apex bank and the telecommunication giant, MTN, in collusion with officials of Standard Chattered Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank.
It could be recalled that Dr. Uboh has blown the whistle alleging that a whopping $25 billion are missing from the coffers of the Central Bank.
One Johnson Olabode Akinkunmi, the CBN Director of Legal Services had on November 18, 2019 told the court how on April 3, 2019, the CBN governor received a petition from Dr. Uboh.
Upon receipt of the said petition, Mr. Emefiele immediately summoned a meeting of the apex bank’s management, according to him, and set up a panel wherein he served as the secretary, a clear case of an accused investigating himself.
He said that the petition narrated how the GUWN chairman alleged that CBN failed to disclose and remit a whopping sum of $760 million being sales from foreign exchange to bureau de change operators.
The petitioner also alleged that CBN failed to remit another $24 million to the coffers of the federal government thereby depriving the government of revenue.
According to the petition, between May 2015 and June 2016, CBN officials, in connivance with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC] officials, deprived the three tiers of government a whopping $1.78 billion.
The mother of the allegations says that CBN officials colluded with MTN, Standard Chattered Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank to defraud the government to the tune of $27 billion.
Presently, the Federal Ministry of Finance, and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami are investigating the alleged deal.
In the meantime, Justice Halilu, while passing the judgment in the Trial Within Trial, ruled against Uboh despite overwhelming evidence against the operatives of the Nigeria Police.
Dr. Uboh, his lead defence counsel, Mr. Idumodin Ogumu Esq. and video evidence shown in the court, narrated how the police officials dictated the statement and forced him to sign it as a precondition to his bail which he earlier long perfected.
A highly dissatisfied Uboh was seen angrily leaving the court premises after Justice Haliru admitted the statement he insisted was made under duress as evidence.
The judge, thereafter, adjourned to January 25 for continuation of the main trial.