Threatens to go to court to stop Zenith from passing information
· Wants closer partnership with Zenith
· Demands for placement of Rivers indigenes in high positions
· As incoming CEO, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, comes to pay homage
Banks are required to report all transactions that exceed a certain amount and stand to be penalized if not done, but Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has berated the Zenith Bank for passing information of the state’s transactions to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Rivers State government in 2007 under then governor, Dr Peter Odili, obtained a Federal High Court order restraining the EFCC from probing the finances of the state. The state government also went to court in 2008 to stop the EFCC when they arrested then chief of staff, Wike, for huge sums lodged into a Zenith Bank account and withdrawing it against quiet instruction from the anti-graft agency.
Now, has reiterated that the EFCC has no powers to investigate the financial transactions of the state government.
He said that before EFCC can investigate the Rivers State Government it must first vacate the Federal High Court judgment that declared that it cannot investigate the financial transactions of the Rivers State Government.
He spoke on Thursday during a courtesy visit by the Group Managing Director Designate of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu.
He said: “EFCC has no powers to look into our financial transactions. You cannot be giving our financial transactions to the EFCC, because that is illegal.
“Unless the EFCC sets aside the judgment, they have no powers to look into our financial transactions. Not that we are afraid, but due process must be followed”.
He said that if Zenith Bank refuses to obey the Court Judgment, Rivers State Government will be compelled to file the necessary processes to ensure the right thing is done.
The Governor commended Zenith Bank for supporting projects execution in the state through facilities. He said the Rivers State Government will complete the payment of loans acquired by May ending.
“You have supported the State in terms of infrastructure. You have also supported us for our inauguration”, he said.
He, however, urged the management of Zenith Bank to consummate the long relationship with Rivers State Government by ensuring that Rivers people grow in the bank.
Governor Wike congratulated Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu on his appointment as the Group Managing Director Designate of the Zenith Bank. He said that his appointment is due to commitment and hard work.
“Since 1999, this relationship has been there and it will be there. Try to ensure that Rivers people grow in the bank”, he said. Governors cannot be arrested or prosecuted while in office but can be investigated to wait for expiry of imunity.
Group Managing Director Designate of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr Ebenezer Onyeagwu congratulated the Rivers State Governor on his re-election.
“Everyone of us in Zenith Bank is very pleased over the success you have recorded. We also want to use this opportunity to congratulate you on your victory at the last election and wish for a glorious second term”, he said.
Onyeagwu said that Zenith Bank prays for Governor Wike to make greater progress during his second term. He said that he was in Rivers State to inform the Governor that he would take over the leadership of the bank on June 1, 2019.
“Zenith Bank and Rivers State have been in partnership for over 20 years. We want to assure you that in this moment and in this time, our expectation is that this partnership will get even bigger and stronger.
“We want to assure you of our utmost loyalty and support for the ideas and aspirations of your Government. Is our pleasure that Zenith Bank is willing to support the various development initiatives of your government. At this second half, going by your disposition, going by your perspective that we know, our expectation is that it will even be raised higher. Even as the tempo is raised higher, the support of Zenith Bank will remain consistent “, Onyeagwu said.