Access Bank: EFCC didn’t arrest Herbert Wigwe

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Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe
Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe

Access Bank Plc has dismissed reports that its Group Managing Director, Mr. Herbert Wigwe has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of fraud.

Some online news sites had claimed that Mr Wigwe was arrested for laundering money for former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu and former petroleum minister, Deziani Allison-Madueke, as well as alleged inflation of contracts linked to former Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode.

In a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday, January 10, 2019 by the company secretary, Sunday Ekwochi, the financial institution denied the reports, stressing that, its officials were only invited for interrogation over credit facilities that were availed Slok Nigeria Limited (owned by Orji Uzor Kalu) by the defunct Diamond Bank plc (which Access Bank had inherited following its merger with Diamond Bank) and which were secured by Slok’s assets charged to Diamond Bank.

“Our attention has been drawn to a trending report on social media regarding the alleged arrest of Mr. Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc (Access Bank) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (“the Commission”).

“We wish to state that the issue essentially relates to the credit facilities that were availed Slok Nigeria Limited (“Slok”) by the defunct Diamond Bank plc (“Diamond”) and which were secured by Slok’s assets charged to Diamond. Access Bank had inherited the Slok credit following the recent merger of Diamond with Access Bank.

“Given the differing interest of the Commission and the Bank on the assets of Slok deriving from the court’s recent judgment on Slok, the Commission had invited for interrogation officials of Access Bank who were handling the Bank’s recovery efforts on Slok credit including its Group Managing Director.

“Following fruitful engagement between the Bank and the Commission, we are of the opinion that the issues relating to Slok investigation have been resolved.

“As an institution built on best practice, we wish to assure our esteemed stakeholders that the Bank will continue to conduct its business in line with extant laws and relations,” Ekwochi said in the statement.

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