N117billion cash withdrawal: Gov. Wike dares EFCC, says investigation into Rivers accounts illegal

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Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State

The Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that no official of the Rivers State Government will appear before EFCC over her politically motivated investigations until the commission approaches the Court of Appeal to set aside the 2007 Judgment barring the commission from investigating the state.

DAILY NIGERIAN reported that EFCC quizzed the managing director of Zenith Bank, Peter Olisamedua Amangbo, in connection with alleged N117b suspicious transactions by the Rivers State in the last three years.

Mr Amangbo has confessed that the bank raked in N5.2billion as charges on the transactions.

The sums were cashed over the counter by state officials for “unknown purposes” suspected to be money laundering.

Peter Olisamedua Amangbo, Zenith Bank MD
Peter Olisamedua Amangbo, Zenith Bank MD

The anti-graft agency is hunting for four officials of the state who were central to the massive withdrawals.

But in a statement on Sunday, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, quoted Mr Wike as describing the action of the EFCC as a “political witch-hunt”.

The governor declared: “We are not afraid of their probe but they have no power to probe us.

“No government official will appear before the EFCC until they set aside the court judgment of Rivers State Government against them in 2007. We cannot be intimidated.

“They filed for leave to appeal the judgment at the Court of Appeal. Until they set aside the judgment, we will not come.”

Mr Wike said the media trial by the EFCC will amount to nothing, pointing out that the Rivers State Government was aware of the move before it even started.

“We are aware of their tricks. They should not bother engaging in media trial because it will not work. This is mere political witch-hunt.

“They must obey the law. We have filed another action against the EFCC. Because they have been served, they are telling the press that they have started investigating Rivers State Government.

“This media war by the EFCC will not work. We stand by the rule of law.”

It will be recalled that while Speaking on the freezing of Akwa Ibom State and Benue State accounts recently at the Government House Port Harcourt , Mr Wike said that the ultimate target of the APC government is Rivers State.

He said: “There is no worse impunity than for the EFCC to shutdown a tier of government through the freezing of the accounts of two State Governments.

“An agency of federal government has frozen the accounts of Akwa Ibom and Benue State Governments . This is the worst coup against the constitution and the law-abiding people of those states.

“But the target is not Benue or Akwa Ibom States. The real target is Rivers State. The EFCC as a federal agency has no business with State Funds. That is the responsibility of the State House of Assembly”.

He said that Rivers State Government under a former Rivers State governor, Peter Odili obtained got a court judgment that the EFCC has no constitutional power to investigate state funds, pointing out that the EFCC is yet to vacate that order at a superior court.

Mr Wike noted that the APC Federal Government has continued to use the EFCC for illegal actions in Rivers State, despite the Attorney General of Rivers State writing to the EFCC and attaching the said judgement against the Federal Agency.