Network of Defense of Democracy and Good Governance (NDDGG) has asked the Rivers state government to come out clean and publish details of the alleged “unlawful” withdrawal of about N118 billion from the state account.
NDDGG gave the State government seven days ultimatum to either publish details of the alleged transaction over the counter or face mass protest to ensure that justice is served.
There Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was quoted to have said that the State government withdrew the said amount from an account domiciled in Zenith Bank within a space of three years.
“The manner the money was withdrawn was suspicious,” a top official of the EFCC reportedly said, describing the transaction as ‘curious withdrawals’ which he said violates government’s Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act. 45 different cheques were issued in the name of one person between June 8, 2015 and 2018 the anti-graft agency claimed.
“While the Rivers state government is engaging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC with all of its defense and justifications, they are not immune 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,” NDDGG said in a statement on Friday.
The said cash was allegedly withdrawn by the Director of Finance, Government House, Fubara Siminalayei, Tonye Uranta, and Harisonba Princewill over the counter in suspicious manner.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 N70 billion 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 host bank allegedly profited over N5 billion in service charges at the expense of Rivers State and the people.
The group said it is not enough to claim media trial against the EFCC over the 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, the statement that was signed by leader of the group, High Chief Sobomabo Jackrich read in part.
“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,” Jackrich added.
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