Following the court order by Justice Chuka Obiozor of a Federal High court in Lagos over remittance of the sum of $793.2 million to the federal government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA), United Bank for Africa Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Skye Bank, Keystone Bank and Fidelity Bank Plc have all debunked the claim connecting them to the unremitted fund.
This development, indicated that only Diamond Bank Plc and First Bank Ltd left from the seven banks that are involved in the case who are yet to denied the allegation made by the government.
In separate reactions to this order, the above listed five commercial banks have therefore denied owing the government.
UBA, in a statement by Mr. Ramon Nasir of the External Relations Department, stated that it has remitted all the monies to the government coffers.
According to Nasir, “In August 23, 2016, UBA and other eight banks were suspended from the forex market by the CBN for non-remittance of NNPC/NLNG foreign currency in their books.
“On August 24, 2016, CBN re-admitted UBA into the forex market as the bank remitted all NNPC/NLNG foreign currency in its books. This was published by CBN on its own website.
“The bank is not holding on to any funds in the accounts as the balances in them are nil.”
Divisional Head, Brand and Communications of Fidelity Bank,Charles Aigbe, denied that the bank concealed any money belonging to the government in any account.
The bank declared that it has remitted all monies belonging to the government.
He said: “At the commencement of the TSA policy, all TSA-related accounts held by the bank were fully disclosed to the authorities. We do not have any TSA-related account with a balance of $24.5million in Fidelity Bank, which has not been remitted to the authorities.
“This matter is coming to us as a surprise.
We are, therefore, reaching out to the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation to ascertain which account or parastatal they are referring to with a view to carrying out a detailed reconciliation.”
Also, Sterling Bank, in a statement by Chief Marketing Officer, Brand Management & Communications Group,Henry Bassey, said there was no hidden NAPIMS and NNPC funds in its account.
“The $46.5 million in question supposedly represents undisclosed qualifying funds under the Federal Government’s TSA policy illegally kept by NAPIMS and NPDC.
“We wish to state unequivocally that Sterling Bank does not hold any sum in any currency as a deposit from either of these entities.
Similarly, management of Skye Bank has denied being on that list, stating that it neither colluded nor unilaterally hid any other funds in its custody.
A statement by the Head, Strategic Brand Management & Communications, Nduneche Ezurike, revealed that the said funds are held with the full knowledge of the relevant Agencies of the government including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the DSS, the National Assembly and the Inspector General of Polices’s Special Investigation Panel, with whom we have engaged extensively over same.
“Our attention has been drawn to media reports of a ruling by the Federal High Court in Lagos on July 20, 2017 wherein seven commercial banks were ordered by Hon Justice Chuka Obiozor to remit a total of $793.200.000 allegedly hidden with them in contravention of the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.
“According to the said reports, it was alleged that the sum of N41m is illegally kept in a NAPIMS fixed deposit account with Skye Bank in collusion with government officials. The management of Skye Bank hereby states that it neither colluded nor unilaterally hid the reported sum or any other funds in its custody.
Also, Keystone Bank, has denied ever having in its custody any illegally hidden money belonging to the Federal Government or any of its agencies.
“We wish to state that Keystone Bank has never illegally hidden any amount of money belonging to the Federal Government or any of its agencies,” the bank said in a statement on Saturday.
“Details of all Federal Government funds in custody of Keystone Bank had always been fully disclosed to all relevant Federal Government agencies.
At no time did Keystone Bank collude or conspire with any official of the Federal Government to disobey the Federal Government directives on the TSA,” it added.
The court had on Thursday ordered the money to be remitted to a designated account at the Central Bank of Nigeria tagged: “CBN OAGF FBN Asset Recovery USD Account No: 901-10302-2-5033-56 (IBAN GB73GTB160830310302168).
The managing directors of the banks were also directed to stop all outward payments from the subject accounts pending the final determination of the substantive suit.
The orders were sequel to the granting of an ex-parte motion filed by the Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, seeking an interim order compelling the banks to remit the funds to government coffers.