By Omobayo Azeez
Access Bank Plc. has refuted media reports that its group managing director, Herbert Wigwe was arrested by the Economic and Financila Crime Commission (EFCC) over allegation of frauds.
Some online media had reported that Wigwe was arrested in connection with the assets of Orji Uzor Kalu former Abia State governor, alleged money laundering for Deziani Allison-Madueke, former petroleum minister, as well as alleged inflation of contracts linked to Akinwunmi Ambode, former Lagos State governor.
The financial institution however cleared air on the matter in a statement signed by Sunday Ekwochi, the company secretary, and filed at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday denying the media report.
The statement by Access Bank reads in part: “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 to the Slok Nigeria Ltd (“Slok”) by the defunct Diamond Plc (“Diamond”) and which were secured by Slok’s assets charged to Diamond. Access Bank had inherited the Slok credit following the merger of Diamond and Access Bank.
“Given the differing interests 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’s recovery efforts on Slok credit including its Group Managing Director.”
Access Bank further says that following engagement between them and the EFCC, issues relating to Slok investigation have been resolved. It assures its stakeholders of complying with extant laws in conducting its business.
“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 regulations” the bank’s statement concluded.