…as suspended EFCC boss remains adamant, refuses to write statement in custody
Department of State Services has relocated the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who had been in custody at its Abuja headquarters.
First News learnt that the DSS has taken Bawa from its Abuja headquarters to a “private facility,” where he’ll be undergoing “intense grilling” following his earlier insistence on not writing any statement since his arrest and detention at the Abuja headquarters of the secret police.
This move by the DSS, it was gathered, was to enable the secret police to have “total control” over Bawa and extract the necessary information from him.
The suspended EFCC chairman had reportedly refused to write statements in custody at the DSS headquarters, telling investigators that the secret police lacked the powers to detain him without charges.
But Bawa, it was learnt, had to be relocated a few days ago by the DSS from its headquarters to one of its private facilities.
A reliable security source told First News that Bawa’s “stubbornness” in custody and refusal to cooperate with DSS investigators necessitated the secret police’s decision to move him out of its headquarters to a private facility.
The suspended EFCC boss had been detained by the DSS along with the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, since their suspension from their respective offices by President Bola Tinubu’s administration over corruption allegations and abuse of office.
But unlike Emefiele, Bawa, it was learnt, had refused to cooperate with DSS investigators in protest against his detention without charges by the secret police.
Emefiele had during interrogation in custody by DSS operatives, reportedly mentioned Bawa as an accomplice in the Naira redesign policy that threw the country into chaos shortly before the 2023 general elections.
DSS had invited Bawa for grilling a few days after Emefiele’s arrest in Lagos and transfer to Abuja for interrogation over alleged corruption and abuse of office.
Former president Muhammadu Buhari had alongside Emefiele on November 23, 2022, unveiled the N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations with the then CBN governor insisting that the old notes would cease to be legal tender from January 31, 2023.
Emefiele had insisted in an interview with newsmen that the policy was not targeted at anyone, in a bid to douse speculations that the cabal in the Presidency were behind the move to prevent Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was then the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress, from recording victory in the February 25 presidential election.
The CBN policy inflicted untold hardship on Nigerians due to the scarcity of naira notes as the apex bank was unable to meet the demand for the new Naira notes. The policy eventually resulted in a cash crisis and long queues at banks and ATM points.
First News gathered from impeccable security sources that Emefiele had during interrogation implicated Bawa, as he had told interrogators that the suspended EFCC chairman actually raised a memo to former President Muhammadu Buhari to request that the Naira should be redesigned to check money laundering by Tinubu and other politicians during the 2023 elections.
Bawa, it was learnt, had confronted Emefiele in custody, revealing that he (suspended CBN boss) and the former Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami had asked him to raise the memo because they suspected Tinubu had stashed Naira notes in some warehouses for the purpose of buying votes during the presidential election.
Recall that in February and March, Emefiele’s Naira redesign and cashless policy inflicted excruciating pains on Nigerians as a result of the scarcity of the new Naira notes.
Emefiele also refused to obey a Supreme Court ruling which made the old notes legal tender till December 31.
But former President Buhari later distanced himself from Emefiele’s disobedience to the apex court order.