Court Rejects DSS Application to Arrest Emefiele for Terrorism Financing

Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court has rejected motion filed by Department of State Security Service, DSS to arrest CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele for not following due process.

Mr Tsoho in a December 13, 2022, ruling rejected to grant an arrest warrant sought by the DSS to take  Emefiele into custody, saying the secret police failed to establish its claims against the  CBN governor, and covering his identity in order to deceive the court into granting an erroneous motion.

The judge while ruling on ex-parte application filed on December 9, by the state secret police said: “The entire affidavit depositions….purport that preliminary investigation has revealed various acts of terrorism financing, fraudulent activities perpetrated by the respondent and his involvement in economic crimes of national security dimension.

“These are no doubt grave allegations, but which the applicant has not presented any concrete evidence to support.”

The judge also said the Department of State Security Service failed to provide evidence showing President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval before filing the salacious and uncorroborated allegations in court. 

“The respondent in this application is named as “Godwin Emefiele” without disclosure of his status or position anywhere; not even in the affidavit. 

“It is left to speculation if the “Godwin Emefiele” is the same person as the serving Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. If it is, then he is unarguably a high ranking public official in Nigeria and indeed occupies a sensitive position as one of key drivers of the nation’s economy.

“Therefore, an application of this kind should have evidence of the approval of the respondent’s boss, that such measures are authorised to be taken.

“It therefore seems that the applicant intends to use the court as a cover for an irregular procedure, which is unacceptable.

“In the light of the foregoing reasons, I decline to grant this application ex-parte,” Mr Tsoho said in the judgment seen by Peoples Gazette on Monday night.

The judge, however said the SSS has the power to arrest and detain Godwin Emefiele without seeking a warrant, but the secret police seemed to be desperate to get judicial approval because it lacked any incriminating evidence against the CBN governor.

People’s Gazette said DSS spokesman did not immediately return a request seeking comments. The CBN also declined comments on Monday night.

 The court order surfaced hours after civic groups protested in Abuja, claiming an attempt to arrest Emefiele on allegations of terrorism and economic sabotage. The groups warned that such a move by the DSS could negativity affect the nation’s economy.

The apex bank chief has come under heavy criticism for his involvement in political activities despite being barred by federal laws against partisan politics as the central bank chief. He purchased APC presidential nomination form earlier this year, but stepped down following President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that ordered all federal officials with political ambitions to resign from office.

Mr Emefiele was widely criticised when he introduced the policy in October, and followed it with another controversial measure that sought to limit cash withdrawals to N100, 000 per week for Nigerians.

The CBN said more than 80 percent of the country’s currency in circulation could not be traced, but critics said the move was an attempt to loot public funds through contract awards for printing new notes.

Mr Emefiele denied the allegations, saying monitoring currency in circulation and limiting cash withdrawals would bolster the country’s economy because most transactions would be conducted through electronic channels that would make them traceable and taxable.

Politicians nationwide were said to have stockpiled cash which they intended to deploy for voter inducement. But with Mr Emefiele’s decision to phase out major currencies in circulation by  January 31, 2022, politicians will find it more difficult to successfully find the cash to bribe voters at the ballot box.

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