By Femi Falana
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!
*Femi Falana is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria