The times are indeed very turbulent for one of Nigeria foremost financial services provider, Zenith Bank, as they are now enmeshed in a sleaze of N117billion, which has left in its wake the arrest of its Managing Director, Peter Amangbo by the anti-graft investigators over a series of fraudulent transactions his bank allegedly carried out on behalf of Governor Wike of Rivers State.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is seriously alleging that the transactions, a whopping N117 billion in value are suspicious in nature but Zenith Bank authorities failed to report them as demanded by law.
According to insiders at the EFCC and Zenith Bank, Amangbo was subsequently held to explain why his bank failed to document the withdrawals, allegedly done over a three-year period, as suspicious. Mr. Amangbo was first invited for questioning on Thursday, August 23, but he was freed on administrative bail and asked to return on Friday, August 24 for further interrogation. He accordingly honoured the arrangement, turning himself in again at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja. An unimpeachable source told this medium that Amangbo was however not allowed to return home on that Friday and as at 4 p.m. last Sunday, he was still being quizzed. Other 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.
An EFCC detective had narrated how the withdrawals were made. The bulk of the money was collected by one official over the counter with as many as 45 to 50 cheques issued in one day. The records retrieved showed that on June 8, 2015, about N450million was cashed over the counter through 45 cheques with each cheque worth N10million. The same thing was done on June 9, 2015 when N500million was cashed in bit of N10million. There is no record of what the cash was used for. There is a case of money laundering which we cannot gloss over. And it is good that the MD of Zenith Bank has admitted that the bank did not report the suspicion transactions. Our detectives are making progress and the nation will soon be briefed on the findings of the EFCC.
Meanwhile, following the new twist, especially as it implicates the Rivers State government. The governor of Rivers state, Nyesom Wike has vowed that no official of his government will appear before EFCC, bearing in mind that the anti-graft agency is to summon four key accounting staff in the Rivers State Government House for interrogation over the shocking discovery.
In a statement, signed by the Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, quoted Governor Wike as describing the alleged action of the EFCC as a “political witch-hunt.” The governor declared: “We are not afraid of their probe and 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.
Governor Wike said that the media trial by the EFCC would amount to nothing, pointing out that Rivers State government was aware of the move before it even started.
He said: “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 of 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 on the rule of law.”