Nigeria charges ex-central bank boss for illegally printing bank notes

Wednesday May 15 2024

Nigeria's former Central Bank governor Godwin Emefiele briefs the media during a past meeting. PHOTO | REUTERS


Nigeria's former central bank governor Godwin Emefiele was charged with illegally printing new bank notes and withdrawing billions of naira without presidential approval and in violation of set rules.

Emefiele, who already faces a separate fraud trial, entered a not guilty plea to the new charges during an appearance on Wednesday in a court in Abuja.

He was released on bail.

State prosecutors say between October 2022 and March 2023, Emefiele ordered the printing of new 1,000-, 500- and 200-naira bank notes without the approval of the president and the Central Bank of Nigeria board.

Read: Buhari unveils new Nigerian banknotes

The printing of new notes was meant to reduce the use of cash in the economy but instead disrupted businesses and caused hardship for citizens as Nigeria prepared for last year's presidential election that was won by Bola Tinubu.


The new notes have continued to circulate alongside old bills.

Emefiele was also charged with approving the withdrawal of 125 billion naira ($82.24 million) from a government fund in violation of rules prescribed by the national assembly.

The former central banker is the most high-profile official to face corruption charges under Tinubu's administration.