Following the arrest and interrogation of Peter Amangbo, Group Managing Director (GMD) of Zenith Bank, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), over alleged illegal operations on accounts belonging to Rivers State Government, the state government has reacted, saying it cannot be intimidated.
The EFCC is alleging that the transactions, at least N117 billion in value, which are suspicious in nature, were allowed on the accounts by Zenith without reporting them as demanded by law.
Amangbo was reportedly held by the EFCC to explain why his bank failed to document the withdrawals, allegedly done over a three-year period.
Amangbo was reportedly first invited for questioning on August 23. He was said to have been freed on administrative bail and asked to return on August 24 for further interrogation.
He returned to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja as agreed but was however not allowed to return home on Friday.
At least four other officials are reportedly being sought in the investigation.
Premium Times is reporting that the suspects considered to be at large include Fubara Similari, whom investigators identified as the director of finance and account at the Government House in Port Harcourt. The Government House cashier is also said to be on the run.
Reacting to the development, Rivers State Government called on the EFCC to leave the State alone to concentrate on delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of Rivers State.
The call was contained in a statement issued in Port Harcourt by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Barr Emma Okah.
According to the statement, Rivers State Government denied any illegal operation of her bank accounts as alleged.
The statement further adds that the Rivers State Government is not answerable to the EFCC until the court says so.
“In 2007, the State took the EFCC to court over interferences with the State’s finances and the court restrained the EFCC from probing the accounts of Rivers State as the State was accountable only to the State House of Assembly. Curiously the EFCC has not been able to set aside the injunction.
“We plead the injunction and advise the Commission to respect the laws of the land as anything short of this is equal to political blackmail, the statement added.
“For the avoidance of doubts, the Rivers State Government is not against the fight against corruption but insists that such fight must be within the ambit of the law and not as a tool of political witch hunt”.
Prior to this development, Governor Nyesom Wike had raised the alarm that the EFCC would be targeting Rivers State following freezing of the accounts of Benue and Akwa Ibom states.
RipplesNigeria… without borders, without fears