Former Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo has refuted claims that he is in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In an exclusive interview, the seasoned banker who was recently appointed GMD of First Bank Holding Company said “I cannot be in my bedroom and somebody somewhere will be saying, EFCC has arrested me and that I have been in custody of the anti-graft commission for days”.
The magazine had, last week, reported that the former Fidelity Chief executive was not arrested by the Abdulrasheed Bawa-led EFCC, following a report by some online publications that he was indeed, taken into custody by the commission.
Premium Times, an online newspaper claimed that “details of Mr. Okonkwo’s arrest remained sketchy Sunday night although some sources said he was being questioned over his role in the transfer of $153.3 million from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in favour of Diezani Alison-Madueke, Nigeria’s former petroleum minister. The banker was managing director of Fidelity Bank at the time”.
But speaking with the magazine today, Okonkwo said he has spent the last few days preparing to take up his new role as First Bank Plc Holdco GMD.
He said, “I have been enjoying myself with my family, apart from going to the gym” to keep in form. “I have also held series of meetings with my new employer in the last few days. So, I don’t understand what Premium Times is saying. I can’t be in EFCC custody and they will allow me to speak to you”, he said.
Okonkwo was appointed, three weeks ago as the new GMD of First Bank Nigeria Holdings Plc
According to the statement by the first-generation commercial bank, Okonkwo will assume office as the GMD of FBN Holdings Plc effective January 1, 2022, following the resignation of UK Eke from the position.
It further said Okonkwo would bring to bear on the board of FBN Holdings more than 30 years of banking career spanning local and international experience.
His appointment is subject to the approval of regulatory authorities, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, a source close to EFCC, who said he’s not allowed to speak on the matter said “the banker cannot be in our custody and no statement will be issued to that effect. Our operations are guided by truth and transparency to the public. Nothing is hidden”.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren did not answer the calls made to him by the magazine.