The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has reportedly arrested Peter Amangbo, Managing Director/CEO at Zenith Bank PLC, who is believed to have handled transactions for the Rivers State Government under Governor Nyesom Wike.
The officer was alleged to have carried out a series of transactions through his bank on behalf of Rivers, sources within the anti-graft said on Sunday.
The scale of transactions is said to be in the range of N117bn in value. It was learnt that Zenith failed to report the transactions as demanded by law.
Insiders at the EFCC and Zenith Bank said Amangbo was held to explain why his bank failed to document the withdrawals, allegedly done over a three-year period.
Amangbo was first invited for questioning on August 23, sources said. But he was freed on administrative bail and asked to return on August 24 for further interrogation.
He honoured the arrangement, turning himself in again at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja.
Our sources said the top banker was however not allowed to return home on Friday.
“He was still being quizzed as at 4 p.m. on Sunday,” one source said.
At least four other officials are being sought in the investigation, it was gathered.
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
Both Akin Olaniyan and Victor Adoji, spokespersons for Zenith Bank, did not immediately return telephone calls, text messages and e-mails seeking comments Sunday night.
Meanwhile,the Rivers State Government has called on the EFCC to leave the state alone to concentrate on delivering the dividends of democracy to the people of Rivers State.
This call was contained in a statement issued in Port Harcourt by the Commissioner for Information and Communications Barr Emma Okah in reaction to an allegation by the EFCC that it is investigating the State State Government in connection with withdrawals state government’s account.
Governor Wike was said to have slammed the investigation as “political witch-hunt” Sunday night, saying he would continue to prevent state officials from appearing before the EFCC for questioning.
“No government official will appear before the EFCC,” Wike was quoted as saying in the statement
The statement further added 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.m
“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,” the statement said.