Enforcement

EFCC PLANS ARREST OF EMEFIELE IN COURT FRIDAY

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The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has concluded plans to rearrest the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Godwin Emefiele, who is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

Feelers from the anti-graft commission indicate that he will be rearrested on yet to be ascertained reason.

The former Governor of Nigeria’s apex bank regained his freedom after almost five months in detention over corruption allegations last week, November 8.

However, sources within the EFCC said Emefiele will return to the custody of the commission when he appears in court on Friday.

His release followed a fundamental right enforcement suit that the erstwhile CBN boss, who was in detention for about five months, filed through his team of lawyers led by Mr. Matthew Burkaa (SAN).

Cited as respondents in the suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/040/2023, are the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Chairman of the EFCC, as well as the anti-graft agency itself.

“There must be an end to detention without trial,” said Judge Olukayode Adeniyi, on Wednesday last week. 

Besides, the court held that it could not allow Emefiele to remain in custody owing to a claim of the federal government that he would on November 15 be arraigned on a fresh charge.

Justice Adeniyi held that the claim was speculative as there was nothing to establish that the planned arraignment would hold as scheduled.

The court noted that a purported remand order that FG’s lawyer tendered before it, which was signed by an Abuja Chief Magistrate, bore conflicting dates.

“A very crucial fact that this court cannot overlook is the Applicant’s claim that he has been incarcerated for a period of upward of 151 days without trial,” Justice Adeniyi added.

He held that section 298(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, empowered the court to make necessary orders, even when there is a remand order against an applicant.

The court therefore directed that Emefiele should be released to a team of three Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), that represented him in the matter.

His bail was granted on condition that he surrender his passport and his lawyers produce him in court on November 17.

It will be recalled that Justice Adeniyi had on November 2. ordered the anti-graft agency to either release the embattled former CBN Governor, unconditionally or produce him in court to be granted bail.

In compliance with the directive, the EFCC produced him in court for the hearing of his bail application on November 8.

Dr. Emefiele was arrested by the secret police known as the Department of State Security (DSS) on June 10, the day after he was suspended as CBN governor, and had remained in custody for five months.

Although the Nigerian constitution limits the detention period of a suspect to a maximum of 48 hours,  law enforcement agencies are often permitted to extend the detention period with the permission of a court of law.

Dr. Emefiele is facing months-long investigations over corruption allegations, attended Wednesday’s proceedings.

It will be recalled that President Bola Tinubu had on June 9, suspended Emefiele from office as the head of the apex bank.

He was later arrested at his Lagos residence by the DSS.

Emefiele had since then, 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 that the federal government entered against him and two others before an Abuja High Court sitting at Maitama.

However, proceedings in both cases were put on hold, following the decision of the defendants to explore a plea bargain deal with FG.

The former CBN boss was subsequently transferred to the EFCC detention facility, by the DSS.

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