Economic and Financial Crimes Commission-EFCC, has launched an investigation into alleged suspicious financial transactions by the Rivers State government.
Our correspondent gathered that the anti-graft agency is beaming its searchlight on the oil rich state following discoveries that government officials made cash withdrawal of whooping N117 billion through one of the first generation bank, in three years.
It was gathered that investigations by the agency’s operatives uncovered how 45 different cheques, written in the name of one person and amounting to N450m, were reportedly withdrawn in one day.
“On the 8th of June 2015, forty five different cheques written in the name of one person was withdrawn with the money amounting to N450 million.
“On the next day, which is 9th of June 2015, there were withdrawals in respect of fifteen different cheques” our source who is an official of the commission noted insisting that the cash transactions by the state government ran contrary to provisions of extant financial regulations and anti-money laundering act.
He said further findings by the commission indicated that the Bank through which these transactions were carried out made a whopping N5.2 billion as profit through charges.
Our source revealed that the Managing Director of the Bank is being held by the EFCC insisting that the Commission is grilling the Bank official for failing to make suspicious transaction report to the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
“Banks are mandated by the law to report all suspicious transactions to the NFIU and for failing to do just that, the MD is being held as he has questions to answer”, our source said.
According to our source, four staff of the Rivers State government including Government House Cashier has been penciled down for grilling.
“These officials will soon be invited for interrogation because the transaction is in total breach of the money laundering act,” our source said adding that the Managing Director of the Bank who is being held has provided useful information.
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren could not be reached for comment as at the time of going to press.
In a swift reaction, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike declared that no official of the State government will appear before the Commission over any investigation until the Commission approaches the Court of Appeal to set aside the 2007 judgment that barred it from investigating the state.
Wike, in a statement issued yesterday, in Port Harcourt by his Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, described the action of the EFCC as a “political witch-hunt”.
The governor declared: “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.