By Emma Ujah
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, on Tuesday met with all the newly- appointed managing directors of the five bailed out banks with a view to preparing a final list of loan defaulters.
The meeting which began soon after the anti-graft agencyâ€™s boss held a long meeting with operatives who have been investigating the sacked five bank CEOs was called to get their input into the list of defaulters the commission is set to go after with effect from Wednesday following the expiration of the seven-day ultimatum given the bank debtors to offset their debts or face arrest.
Those who attended the meeting included the CEOs of Union Bank, Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank, FinBank and Afribank.
Fielding questions from newsmen after the serial meetings at the commissionâ€™s office in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday, Waziri said all defaulters will have themselves to blame when operatives begin their arrest on Wednesday.
According to her,â€today marks the expiration of that ultimatum and itâ€™s my fervent hope that those concerned took advantage of the ultimatum to pay their debts. For those who failed to do so, they must be prepared to face the consequences.â€œWe have information that many of them have been holding secret meetings and strategising to escape arrest and prosecution for economic crimes.
“Some are said to be preparing to go to court to seek protection against arrest and prosecution. While it is within the right of every Nigerian to seek legal redress against perceived wrong, we would crave the indulgence of the respected members of the Nigerian Bench not to consider any frivolous interlocutory application from bank debtors at this particular point in time.
Some of us may not know it but these are very critical times for the banking sector and our beloved nation.
â€œWhat some of these individuals and organizations have done is pure economic sabotage and we should not allow them to escape with their loot. We therefore appeal to all stakeholders to cooperate with the Commission as we go all out after these defaulters tomorrow.
We have compiled a comprehensive list of all the defaulters. In fact the reason we have not arraigned some of the bank executives in our custody is because we wanted to be sure about the defaulters so that we can arraign them as conspirators alongside the bank chiefs. Our operatives are fully mobilized to ensure that this exercise is successful.â€
She promised to make available the total figure of monies paid so far by the debtors as soon as necessary reconciliations are completed.
This is coming even as attempts by some of the detained bank executives to regain their freedom suffered a setback as the court deferred hearing of their application to September 6. Though the suspects got a leave of the court to enforce their fundamental human rights, they will remain in the Commissionâ€™s custody until they are arraigned in court as the anti-graft agency had earlier secured a court order to detain them.