Human rights advocate Femi Falana (SAN) has asserted that the Department of State Services (DSS) does not possess the constitutional authority to conduct investigations and prosecute Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Falana stated on Sunday that Emefiele should be handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which holds the legal mandate to prosecute him.
“A few months ago, the State Security Service leveled serious allegations of terrorism financing, money laundering, and other economic crimes against Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. At that time, the attempt by the SSS to arrest, investigate, and prosecute Mr. Emefiele was thwarted by the former Buhari administration.
“However, following President Bola Tinubu’s suspension of Mr. Emefiele as the CBN Governor, the SSS interrogated him in Lagos and transported him to Abuja yesterday (Saturday).
“According to media reports, the SSS has now commenced its investigation of the suspect. Even though the SSS initially denied the arrest, it has now admitted 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 authority to investigate and prosecute the appellant for the violation of the provisions of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. It was on this fundamental basis that the apex court acquitted Senator Saraki.
“In accordance with the legal principle established by the Supreme Court in Saraki’s case, the SSS lacks the power to investigate and prosecute Mr. Emefiele with regard to allegations of money laundering and other economic crimes.
“Therefore, after completing its investigation into Emefiele’s alleged involvement in terrorism financing, the SSS should transfer him to the EFCC for the purpose of investigating the allegations of money laundering and related offenses. Otherwise, the investigation of the case will be mishandled by the SSS,” Falana stated.