The Department of State Services (DSS) has disclosed its intention to interrogate other individuals alongside Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
To prolong the investigation into Emefiele, the DSS plans to obtain a court order on Tuesday to keep him in custody for the duration of the interrogation.
According to a source speaking to Punch, the DSS is likely to seek an order for indefinite detention of Emefiele.
Recall that President Bola Tinubu suspended Emefiele from office with immediate effect on Friday, as part of efforts to reform the country’s financial sector.
The DSS, in collaboration with its operatives, arrested Emefiele in Lagos on Saturday and transported him to Abuja via a private jet.
Regarding the interrogation, the source stated, “He (Emefiele) will be in our custody for quite some time. We may obtain a court order to extend his detention. The previous charges against him still stand, and further investigations may uncover additional offenses. Considering his prominence, we must ensure that all loose ends are tied up before presenting him in court.”
The source added that the DSS has assembled a team of experienced interrogators to question Emefiele on a wide range of issues, including allegations of terrorism financing, mismanagement of the economy, and the affairs of the apex bank.
“We have a team of interrogators who will question him and obtain statements. We will not jeopardize our case. However, it is important for Nigerians to know what happened and why we were searching for him previously,” the source elaborated.
Sources also revealed that other high-ranking directors at the CBN would be subjected to interrogation in the coming weeks as part of a comprehensive probe into Emefiele’s tenure, as directed by the President.
The DSS is expected to focus on senior officials in the CBN’s procurement department and special advisers to the suspended governor.
“One of the individuals of interest is a special adviser to the CBN governor. He retired from the CBN as a director in 2021 but was retained as a special adviser by Emefiele. He is believed to possess insider knowledge of all the actions taken by Emefiele. Other subjects of interest include senior officials and directors in the procurement department. In the weeks ahead, many top directors will be invited or arrested for questioning,” stated a source.
The investigations will encompass several issues, including the alleged fraudulent practices surrounding loans worth billions of naira granted to farmers under the Fadama scheme, the controversial sale of Polaris Bank, alleged financing of the Indigenous People of Biafra by Emefiele, and other allegations related to foreign exchange fraud.
Additionally, the CBN officials will be required to answer probing questions about the bank’s fiscal policies, including the handling of the naira redesign policy, which resulted in a scarcity of banknotes, leading to a nationwide economic crisis, riots, attacks on banks, and loss of lives.
The source concluded, “Their level of involvement will determine whether they retain their positions or face prosecution at the conclusion of the investigation.”