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How DSS Can Properly Handle Emefiele’s Case — Falana

Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has encouraged the Department of State Services (DSS) to appropriately manage the case involving the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, in order to avoid a mishandled investigation.

Falana said in a statement on Sunday that the secret police should pursue Emefiele for alleged terrorism financing, which falls under its competence, and give him over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution on suspicion of money laundering and other fraud charges.

On Friday, President Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele as the apex bank’s chief and directed that the bank’s Deputy Governor of Operations, Folashodun Shonubi, resume office in an acting capacity.

On Saturday, the DSS confirmed that Emefiele is in its custody.

Falana, on Sunday, counselled the secret police not to mess the case involving the suspended CBN chief by prosecuting him for alleged money laundering and economic crimes which fall under the purview of the EFCC.

He advised that the DSS probe Emefiele for alleged terror financing and transfer him to the EFCC for prosecution for alleged money laundering.

Falana said, “A few months ago, the State Security Service (SSS) levelled grave allegations of terrorism financing, money laundering, and other economic crimes against Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). 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 round 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 Mr. Emefiele in terrorism financing the SSS should transfer him to the EFCC for the purpose of investigating the allegations of money laundering and allied offences. Otherwise, the investigation of the case will be bungled by the SSS!”

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