DSS Seizes Emefiele’s Passport As Investigation Continues

The suspended Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has had his passport seized by the Department of State Services.

Additionally, it was learned that the service would inspect Emefiele’s house and workplace this week.

The service detained Emefiele in Lagos and flew him to Abuja on Saturday after suspending him on Friday due to the ongoing investigation into his office and the proposed banking sector reforms.

In a statement, the service’s spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, said Emefiele had been arrested and was being looked into.

However, a DSS source claimed on Sunday that it was routine practice to detain his travel documents while the inquiry was still ongoing.

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.”

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.

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