More trouble for Emefiele as DSS seizes passport, plans home, office search

DSS
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The Department of State Services has confiscated the passport of the suspended Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

The service, it was also learnt, may search Emefiele’s home and office this week.

Following his suspension on Friday as a result of the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector, the service arrested Emefiele in Lagos and flew him to Abuja in a private jet on Saturday.

The spokesperson for the service, Peter Afunanya, in a statement said Emefiele had been taken into custody and was under investigation.

However, a source in the DSS on Sunday said it was standard procedure for his travel document to be seized pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation.

The source added that the office and residence of the suspended apex bank governor would be searched.

The source said, “Of course, Emefiele’s travel document would be confiscated as part of the standard process pending the conclusion of our investigation. Also, as part of the investigation, his house and office would be searched for documents that can aid the ongoing investigation on his management of the CBN.”

Our correspondent had reported that other top directors of the CBN might also be invited or arrested for questioning over their roles in the administration of the apex bank.

It was learnt that the DSS might revisit the criminal charges it earlier filed against Emefiele which borders on terrorism financing and fraud.

The secret police similarly accused the suspended CBN box of mismanaging the CBN subsidiary, Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending and the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

The DSS spokesman, Afunanya, could not be reached for comment on Sunday as calls to his line indicated that he was unreachable.

He had yet to respond to a text message on the detention of Emefiele as of the time of filing this report.

DSS lacks powers- Falana

Meanwhile, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has said the DSS lacked constitutional power to investigate and prosecute Emefiele.

Falana in a message sent to one of our correspondents said Emefiele should be transferred to the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission who according to him, posses the legal right to prosecute Emefiele.

“A few months ago, the State Security Service levelled grave allegations of terrorism financing, money laundering, and other economic crimes against Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. At the material time, the attempt by the SSS to arrest, investigate, and prosecute Mr. Emefiele was frustrated by the erstwhile Buhari administration.

“However, following the suspension of Mr. Emefiele as the Governor of the CBN by President Bola Tinubu, the SSS quizzed him in Lagos and flew him to Abuja yesterday. According to media reports, the investigation of the suspect by the SSS has commenced. Even though the SSS which initially denied the arrest has since turned around to admit that Mr. Emefiele is in its custody.

“In the case of Dr. Bukola SarakI v. Federal Republic of Nigeria (2018) 16 NWLR (pt. 1646) 433-434, the Supreme Court ruled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission lacks the vires to investigate and prosecute the appellant for the breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. It was for that principal reason that Senator Saraki was freed by the apex court.

“In line with the principle of law enunciated by the apex court in Saraki’s case the SSS lacks the power to investigate and prosecute Mr. Emefiele in respect of allegations of money laundering and other economic crimes. Therefore, after investigating the alleged involvement of Emefiele in terrorism financing the SSS should transfer him to the EFCC for the purpose of investigating

Punch

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