© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele briefs the media during the MPC meeting in Abuja, Nigeria January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/File Photo
ABUJA (Reuters) – 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June and has already pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing a firearm illegally — charges which were subsequently withdrawn.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”.