Leader of the Network of Defense of Democracy and Good Governance (NDDGG) High Chief Sobomabo Jackrich, Leader, has called on Rivers State Governor Nyesome Wike to publish in full details all that pertain to these transactions or the would lead a peaceful campaign and protest to ensure that justice is served.
He said sometime in August 2018, the news made rounds that 117 Billion Naira of Rivers money was withrawn across Zenith Bank Counter within a space of three years according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The EFCC stated, “In all, we are investigating cash withdrawals totaling N117bn from the Rivers State accounts in the last three years. The manner the money was withdrawn was suspicious.” A top official of the EFCC, said the “curious”withdrawals violated the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
The EFCC source, who cited some of the withdrawals, which he said were curious, said 45 different cheques were issued in the name of one person on June 8, 2015.
High Chief Sobomabo Jackrich, Leader, Network of Defense of Democracy and Good Governance (NDDGG) while briefing the press revealed that , on Sunday May 24, 2020 another disturbing headline resurfaced “How Rivers officials withdrew N118b in cash – EFCC” on the front page of The Nation Newspaper which contains a detailed report of the alleged transactions by the Rivers State government.
The said cash was allegedly withdrawn by the Director of Finance, Government House, Fubara Siminalayei, Tonye Uranta, and Harisonba Princewill over the counter in suspicious manner.
One of the officials allegedly withdrew over N70billion in cash, about 129 times over a period of three years. From the reports, the Rivers State Government is alleged to be shielding the relevant officials from reporting to the EFCC for interrogation.
The state government cites a perpetual injunction obtained in 2007 barring the EFCC from probing its accounts.
It was gathered that the cash withdrawals were made between 2015 and 2018 with Siminalayei alone allegedly collecting over N70billion over the counter about 35 times in 2016 and 94 times in 2017.
The same suspect allegedly withdrew N16.297billion from the bank in cash in 2015.
In all of these transactions, the bank involved is alleged to have hugely profited over five billion Naira in service charges at the expense of Rivers State and the people.
It is not enough to claim media trial or political witchunt against the EFCC over these whooping sums of Rivers monies. The Rivers state government owes a duty of public trust to explain to Rivers people and publish bit by bit every detail of these transactions in the spirit of transparency and the Freedom of Information Act.
He also stated that the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that no official of the Rivers State Government will appear before the EFCC over what he called politically-motivated investigations until the commission approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the 2007 judgment barring the commission from investigating the state.
Network of Defense of Democracy and Good Governance NDDGG further states that while the Rivers state government is engaging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC with all of its defense and justifications, they are not imuned from accounting to the People of Rivers state for whom they hold these funds on trust. Hence, we will not allow our own government to continue to embarrass us as a people with very scandalizing reports that portray us in bad light.
Therefore in keeping with our obligation to ensure probity in public office and finances, we issue a seven days ultimatum to the Rivers State Government to publish in full details all that pertain to these transactions or we would lead a peaceful campaign and protest to ensure that justice is served.