A fiery battle is on the cards between the Rivers State government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The EFCC says it is investigating the Rivers State Government for alleged cash withdrawals totaling N117bn but a statement credited to Gov. Nyesom Wike said no government official will honour any form of invitation by the anti-graft body.

It was reported that the withdrawals from the account of the state government were made in the last three years.

A top official of the commission, who confided in The PUNCH on Sunday, said the “curious”withdrawals violated the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.

He 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 The manner the money was withdrawn was suspicious.”

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.

According to him, a total of N450m were withdrawn from the state government account in the Zenith Bank that day.

He also gave an example of total withdrawal of N500m on June 9, 2015 through 50 different cheques.

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It was gathered that the EFCC would this week invite the Director of Finance and Administration in the Rivers State Government House, Similari   Fubura, for interrogation over the withdrawals.

Practically ready to fight to finish Gov. 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.

A statement on Sunday signed by the Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, quoted Governor Wike as describing the alleged action of the EFCC as a political witch-hunt.

 “We are not afraid of their probe and they have no power to probe us. No government official will appear before the EFCC until they set aside the court judgment of Rivers State Government against them in 2007. We cannot be intimidated.

 “They filed for leave to appeal the judgment at the Court of Appeal. Until they set aside the judgment, we will not come,” Wike insisted.

 The governor pointed out that the media trial by the EFCC would amount to nothing, adding that the state government was aware of the move before it even started.

“We are aware of their tricks. They should not bother engaging in media trial because it will not work. This is a mere political witch-hunt. They must obey the rule of law. We have filed another action against the EFCC.

“Because they have been served, they are telling the Press that they have started investigating Rivers State Government. This media war by the EFCC will not work. We stand on the rule of law,” Wike added.

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