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Reps panel dismisses petition alleging plot by DSS, EFCC to rearrest Emefiele

Reps panel dismisses petition alleging plot by DSS, EFCC to rearrest Emefiele
December 07
22:06 2023

A house of representatives panel has dismissed a petition on an alleged plot by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Department of State Services (DSS) to rearrest Godwin Emefiele, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). 

The committee on public petition threw out the petition at a hearing on Thursday because it is subjudice.

THE PETITION

In a letter dated November 27, the Centre for Social Justice Equity and Transparency (CESJET), a civil society organisation (CSO), had petitioned the house of representatives, over an alleged plot by the EFCC and DSS to “forcefully remove” Emefiele from the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS).

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The petition was presented before the lower legislative chamber by Philip Agbese, an All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker, from Benue.

The group claimed that the antigraft agency and the secret police were plotting to rearrest Emefiele as soon as his bail conditions were perfected.

On November 18, Emefiele was arraigned before a federal capital territory (FCT) high court on a six-count charge bordering on procurement fraud.

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The former CBN governor was accused of using his position to confer a corrupt advantage on Sa’adatu Yaro, a staff of the bank, by awarding a contract for the procurement of 43 vehicles worth N1.2 billion between 2018 and 2020.

The vehicles included 37 Toyota Hilux at the cost of N854.7 million, one Toyota Avalon at the cost of N99.9 million, one Toyota Landcruiser V8 at the cost of N73.8 million, two Toyota Hilux Shell Specification at the cost of N44,200,000.

He was also alleged to have awarded Yaro a contract for the procurement of two Toyota Landcruiser VXR V8 worth N138 million.

Emefiele pleaded “not guilty” to the amended charge and was later granted bail in the sum of N300 million.

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The court granted him bail but demanded that he must produce two sureties in like sum.

According to the court, the sureties must have certificates of occupancy and titles of properties within the Maitama district in Abuja.

He was also mandated to deposit all his travel documents with the registrar of the court and must remain within the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC).

Emefiele is still in prison because he has been unable to meet his bail conditions.

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THE HEARING

At the hearing on Thursday, Sylvanus Tahir, EFCC’s director of legal and prosecution; Nwakeze Emmanuel, NCS assistant comptroller-general of correction in charge of operations, appeared before the committee while DSS was not represented.

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Addressing the panel, Tahir asked the lawmakers to dismiss the petition because the matter is in court.

He said Emefiele’s lawyers could approach the court to seek redress if there is such an alleged plot.

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“There is a subsisting criminal charge against Mr Godwin Emefiele. I am wondering whether it is appropriate, given the fact that it borders on a subsisting court matter— for this committee to by way of a public hearing, delve into the matter. More so that Emefiele is heavily represented by very senior lawyers in this matter, including senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN),” he said.

“And this petition did not emanate from them and in any event, we believe if the allegation has substance as the petitioners would want this committee to believe, it would have been ventilated before the honourable court in which this case is pending because they are alleging a case of contempt.

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“If it is a case of contempt as it is being alleged, I thought the appropriate forum to ventilate that issue should be before the honourable court other than bring it before this committee given the subjudice nature of this case,” he said.

On his part, Emmanuel said he was not aware of any plot to rearrest Emefiele.

“As far as we are concerned, we are not aware of any alleged attempt to forcefully release Emefiele. Emefiele is still in our custody,” he said.

After deliberations, Michael Etaba, chairman of the committee, dismissed the case for being subjudice.

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