The suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who is still in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) has refused to write statements at the secret police’s facility, SaharaReporters learnt from top officials.
SaharaReporters further gathered that Bawa told investigators that the DSS had no right to detain him without charges, hence his refusal to write any statements in custody.
Bawa has been in detention along with Godwin Emefiele, the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, since they were suspended from their respective offices by the President Bola Tinubu’s administration over corruption allegations and abuse of office.
On Wednesday, SaharaReporters learnt that so far, Bawa had refused to cooperate with DSS investigators, protesting against his detention without charges.
“The detained EFCC chairman has refused to write statements; he told DSS they have no right to detain him without charges.
“He was also accused of shielding former Governor of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari, while helping him to hunt down his opponents,” one of the sources revealed.
“So far since his detention, he has vehemently refused to cooperate with DSS investigators,” another top source noted.
Last Thursday, SaharaReporters exclusively reported that Emefiele named Bawa as an accomplice in the Naira redesign scam that rocked the country some months ago.
Bawa’s invitation and grilling by the DSS came days after Emefiele was arrested and flown from Lagos to Abuja to also face interrogations over alleged corruption and abuse of office.
On November 23, 2022, then-President Muhammadu Buhari alongside Emefiele unveiled new naira notes in denominations of N200, N500 and N1,000. Emefiele insisted that the old notes would cease to be legal tender from January 31, 2023.
Addressing journalists after the event, Emefiele insisted that the move was not targeted at anyone as there were speculations that the move was pushed by the cabal in the Presidency and targeted at preventing Bola Tinubu, then-presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress from winning the February 25, 2023 election.
The policy caused Nigerians untold hardship due to the scarcity of naira notes with the CBN unable to meet the demand for new notes. The policy led to a cash crisis and long queues at banks and ATMs.
“Emefiele who is currently cooling his feet in the cell of the DSS is the reason why the EFCC chairman has been detained overnight. Emefiele who is cooperating with the DSS claimed that Bawa was the one who raised a memo to former President Muhammadu Buhari, asking that the Naira should be redesigned to stem money laundering during the 2023 election,” a top source had revealed.
“Bawa confronted him that he (Emefiele) and the former Attorney-General of the Federation, Malami were the ones that came to him to raise the memo because they suspected Tinubu had warehouses stuffed with naira notes,” the source had added.
In February and March, Nigerians were subjected to extreme difficulty with the Naira redesign and cashless policy due to the scarcity of the new Naira notes.
To make matters worse, Emefiele had refused to heed a Supreme Court ruling which made the old notes legal tender till December 31, before former President Buhari distanced himself from the disobedience to the court order.
SaharaReporters had earlier reported that Emefiele was suspended “sequel to the ongoing investigation of his office and the planned reforms in the financial sector of the economy” according to a release by Willie Bassey, the Director, Information, for the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume.
SaharaReporters in February reported how the DSS attempted to arrest Emefiele, but the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, shielded him by providing soldiers to guard his residence and office.
The DSS had said it intensified its investigations in order to arrest and prosecute Emefiele, on allegations of terrorism financing and fraud.
SaharaReporters also in February reported that new court documents obtained from the DSS indicted Emefiele for funding “unknown gunmen” terrorising the Southeast region of the country.
DSS investigation revealed that the apex bank governor funded the groups with resources he raised for his failed presidential bid in 2022 and diverted public funds.
Also, SaharaReporters in August 2022 reported how the EFCC stated that former Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris; and Abdulaziz Yari allegedly stole about N84.7 billion out of the $2.2 billion meant for oil-rich states.
According to Hayatu Ahmed, Chief Superintendent of EFCC, the funds allegedly diverted by the suspended accountant-general and others were linked to properties such as the Gezawa Exchange Limited, Gezawa Integrated Farms, and Kano City Mall.
Also, SaharaReporters in December 2022 reported that Yari led a team of aggrieved Northern leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress to secretly work for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar.