Emefiele: DSS Set To Seek Order To Extend Suspended CBN Governor’s Detention, Lines Up Interrogators

by Opeyemi Alimi
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The Department of State Services (DSS) is reportedly to approach the court on Tuesday to obtain an order to keep the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, in its custody for as long as his interrogation will last.

According to a source in the DSS and as reported by The PUNCH, it is understood that the secret police would likely approach the court to obtain an order to detain the embattled CBN boss for an indefinite period to allow for unfettered interrogation.

On Friday, Nigerian President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu ordered the suspension of Emefiele as the CBN, an order that took effect immediately.

This was sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy, according to a statement by the Director of Information, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Willie Bassey.

In the statement, Emefiele was directed to immediately hand over the affairs of his office to the Deputy Governor (Operations Directorate), Mr Folashodun Adebisi Shonubi, who will act as the CBN governor pending the conclusion of the investigation and the reforms.

Subsequently, the suspended apex bank boss was arrested in Lagos on Saturday by DSS operatives while he was allegedly trying to escape out of the country by land and flown to Abuja in a private jet.

The source stated, “He (Emefiele) is going to be with us for some time. We may obtain a court order to further detain him. The previous charges against him are there and further investigations may add to that. You know that he is a big man, and we have to make sure that the loose ends are tightened before we take him to court.

“Recall that we were looking for him before his suspension. Now that we have him, we will hear from him; hear what he has to say on those issues we have highlighted before.”

It was also gathered from the source that the DSS had assembled a team of crack interrogators to quiz Emefiele on wide-ranging issues, including alleged terrorism financing and mismanagement of the economy and the apex bank.

“We have a team of interrogators, who are going to quiz and obtain statements from him. We won’t bungle our case. But honestly, Nigerians need to know what happened and why we were looking for him the other time,” the source added.

Meanwhile, Emefiele’s arrest is a precursor to the imminent purge of the top echelon of the apex bank, Sunday PUNCH has learnt.

It was gathered on Saturday that other top directors of the CBN would be interrogated in the coming weeks as part of a comprehensive probe of Emefiele’s administration as directed by the President.

Dependable sources said the secret police would likely go after senior officials in the procurement department of the CBN as well as special advisers to the embattled governor.

A source stated, “One of those under the radar of the DSS is a special adviser to the CBN governor.

“He retired from the CBN in 2021 as a director but was retained by Emefiele as a special adviser. He is believed to have an inside knowledge of all the actions taken by Emefiele.

“Other subjects of interest are senior officials and directors in the procurement department. The fact is that many top directors will be invited or arrested for questioning in the weeks ahead.”

Read Also: “Emefiele Has Reduced Nigeria To A State of Despondency,” Soyinka Reacts To CBN’s Naira Swap Policy, Says The CBN Governor Has Committed A Crime Against Humanity

One of our correspondents learnt that Emefiele, his aides and other top directors would be grilled on a number of issues relating to loans worth billions of naira given to farmers under the Fadama scheme, which were believed to have been marred by fraud; the controversial sale of Polaris Bank, which was also allegedly fraught with irregularities; alleged financing of the Indigenous People of Biafra by the suspended CBN boss, and other allegations bordering on forex fraud.

The CBN chiefs are also expected to answer tough questions on the apex bank’s fiscal policies, including the handling of the naira redesign policy, which led to the scarcity of naira notes and caused a nationwide economic crisis, resulting in riots, attacks on banks and death of some citizens.

“Their level of complicity will determine if they will retain their jobs or face prosecution at the end of investigation,” another source stated.

Earlier on Saturday, the spokesman of the DSS, Dr Peter Afunaya, confirmed that the suspended CBN governor was in the custody of the agency and would undergo interrogation.

He said in a statement, “The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby confirms that Mr Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is now in its custody for some investigative reasons.

“The public, particularly the media, is enjoined to apply utmost caution in the reportage and narratives concerning this.”

This was a follow-up to an earlier statement by Afunaya in which he said Emefiele was not yet in the custody of the secret police.

Indications also emerged on Saturday that the DSS might conduct a search on the residence and office of the suspended apex bank governor as part of its investigation.

Another source in the secret police said, “He (Emefiele) has been on the watch list of the service for long, now that he has been arrested, he will be spending the night in custody at our headquarters and may not be released anytime soon. There is also the likelihood of his residence and office being searched in furtherance of the service’s investigation.”

Read Also: Emefiele: I’m Highly Disappointed You Appointed Shonubi As Acting CBN Governor – Adeyanju Attacks Tinubu

It is understood that the DSS had been on the trail of the suspended CBN governor and had even approached a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory to arrest him.

But Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, said the secret police did not provide any concrete evidence to substantiate its claims that Emefiele was involved in terrorism financing and economic crimes.

Among allegations levied against the embattled CBN governor by the DSS are terrorism financing, mismanagement of Nigeria’s social investment programme and the Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme, among others.

Meanwhile, the residence of the suspended CBN boss in the Maitama area of the FCT was deserted on Saturday.

Our correspondents, who were there from noon till around 3pm, did not observe the presence of security operatives around his residence. Also, no movement of persons or vehicles was observed in the compound.

At the CBN headquarters, our correspondents only observed the presence of the apex bank’s security men.

This was contrary to what happened earlier in the year when a team of policemen was seen at his home. Also, his office was not spared as there were reports of operatives of the Department of State Services invasion of the CBN.

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