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N118bn Probe: We Won’t Release Our Officials To EFCC – Rivers Govt



By Anayo Onukwugha
The Rivers State government has vowed not to release to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) three of its officials being wanted by the anti-graft agency for interrogation.
The EFCC had declared wanted the officials, who included the director of Finance, Government House, Fubara Siminalayei, Tonye Uranta, and Harisonba Princewill, for alleged illegal withdrawal N118billion public funds.
But, the state government, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt last night by the commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, advised the EFCC to stop the media trial of its top officials.
Nsirim insisted that the state government would not release the officials to the anti-graft agency until the EFCC vacated a perpetual injunction of the Federal High Court, which restrained the agency and its operatives from interfering in the finances of the state government.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Rivers State government has been drawn to a fresh wave of media trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“The latest attempt contained in today’s edition (May 24, 2020) of The Nation Newspaper alleged that the state government has refused to release top officials for interrogation in connection with the withdrawal of N118 billion in cash between 2015 and 2018.
“We have repeatedly said that the state government will not release its officials to the EFCC for investigations until the commission approaches the court to set aside subsisting orders of perpetual injunction granted by various courts of competent jurisdiction restraining the EFCC from investigating or inquiring into the financial transactions of the Rivers State government, including its ministries, departments and agencies.
For the avoidance of doubt, no official of the Rivers State Government would appear before the EFCC until the subsisting judgments in favour of the Rivers State Government are set aside on appeal.
“Resorting to the Media can only be described as cheap blackmail and witch-hunt to turn away public attention from the development strides in the state.”
Meanwhile, the state government has announced another 27 new cases of coronavirus, including the manager of Prodest Hotels, one of the buildings demolished by the Nyesom Wike administration  in Eleme local government area.