EFCC Faces Controversy in Detention of Ex-CBN Governor Emefiele
Former CBN Governor Emefiele's Detention Sparks Legal Battle
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has presented Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), before an Abuja High Court in Maitama.
Justice Olukayode Adeniyi had issued a ruling on November 2, instructing the anti-graft agency to either unconditionally release Mr. Emefiele, who had been in detention since June 9, or bring him to court for a bail hearing.
However, the EFCC failed to comply with the court order during the last Monday’s hearing.
Mr. Emefiele’s lawyer, Mr. Mathew Burkaa, SAN, expressed his concern in court, stating that the EFCC had disregarded both court orders, despite being promptly served with them.
“My lord, they have flouted both orders, and today marks the 149th day of the Applicant being in custody. The Applicant is still in custody of the 3rd and 4th Respondents, up to this moment,” he lamented.
The EFCC, represented by its lawyer, Mr. Farouk Abdallah, confirmed receiving the court order. However, Abdallah contested the claim made by Mr. Emefiele’s counsel, stating that Mr. Emefiele had not been in the EFCC’s custody for over 100 days.
“My lord, I do confirm that we received the order. It is, however, not correct that the Applicant has been in custody of the 3rd and 4th Respondents for over 100 days. He has only been in our custody for only 7 days,” Abdallah explained.
He further mentioned that certain exhibits, particularly exhibit E, were not attached to the received processes, preventing them from providing a response.
Justice Adeniyi was not satisfied with this response and questioned whether the absence of the exhibit justified the EFCC’s disobedience of the court order.
“I made an order, and it was very clear. Are you telling the court that because an affidavit was not attached, that was why you refused to comply with orders I made on November 2?” Justice Adeniyi queried.
In response, Mr. Abdullah stated that the EFCC misunderstood the court order and expressed the agency’s respect for the court’s orders.
“As such, we pray the court to direct the Applicant to furnish us with all the processes to enable us to make the appropriate response,” Abdullah pleaded.
Justice Adeniyi directed Mr. Emefiele’s lawyer to serve the requested exhibit on the EFCC before adjourning the case until today.
In compliance with the court order, the EFCC brought Mr. Emefiele before the court on Wednesday.
Mr. Emefiele had filed an ex-parte motion seeking an order to compel the EFCC to release him from custody pending the determination of his fundamental rights enforcement suit. Alternatively, he requested bail and asked the court to award N5 million against the Respondents for violating his fundamental rights.
The Respondents in the suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/040/2023, include the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Chairman of the EFCC, and the EFCC itself.
It is worth noting that President Bola Tinubu suspended Mr. Emefiele from office as the head of the apex bank on June 9. Subsequently, he was arrested at his Lagos residence by the Department of State Services (DSS). Mr. Emefiele has faced a two-count charge of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition before the Federal High Court in Lagos, as well as a 20-count corruption charge filed by the Federal Government against him and two others before an Abuja High Court in Maitama.
However, proceedings in both cases were put on hold as the Defendants sought to explore a plea bargain deal with the Federal Government. The former CBN boss was subsequently transferred to the EFCC detention facility by the DSS.