First Bank Plc, Diamond Bank, Skye Bank, Keystone Bank and Sterling Bank may have bitten more than they can chew going by the alleged non remittance of $793million into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) as directed by the federal government. The bubble burst for these banks when the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), reported to the Presidency that nine banks were hiding its $2.33 billion.
The Presidency it was gathered directed the CBN to go after these banks.
These deposit money banks (DMBs) plunged into trouble waters for hiding over $2.274 billion belonging to the NNPC from the TSA.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) penalized these banks by wielding the big stick. it banned the banks from forex transactions, the banks suspension according to the CBN is to remain in force until they remit all the funds to the TSA.
National WAVES learnt that recuperating President Muhammadu Buhari has been briefed on the breach by the banks. He mandated the banks to move the monies to the TSA before any consideration for their re-entry into forex trading.
In a related development, Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court last Thursday ordered the momentary remittance of $793,200,000 by seven Nigerian commercial banks to the federal government. The banks were ordered to remit different sum of money into the Federal Government’s Assets Recovery dollars account based in the Central Bank of Nigeria
Going by the court documents filed by counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Yemi Akinseye-George, “a total sum of $41m was illegally kept in a NAPIMS fixed deposit account with Skye Bank.”
The documents indicated that “$277.9m was hidden in Diamond Bank; $18.9m in First Bank; $17m in Keystone Bank; and $46.5m in Sterling Bank.”
Vincent Adodo, a legal practitioner from Akinseye-George’s law firm deposed to a 15-paragraph affidavit in support of an ex parte application filed by the AGF, submitted that “seven banks colluded with federal government officials to hide the funds in breach of the government’s TSA policy.”
“The funds were revenues, donations, transfers, refunds, grants, taxes, fees, dues, tariffs etc accruable to the Federal Government from different ministries, departments, parastatals and agencies,”. Adodo submitted..
Adodo submitted that the banks failed to remit the funds to the TSA based in the CBN which is not in tandem with the guidelines issued by the Accountant General of the Federation which had September 15, 2015 as the deadline for such funds to be remitted..
He stated that the 1st to 7th respondents (banks) “in collaboration with and/or collusion with unknown officials of the Federal Government, conspired to disobey the relevant constitutional provisions, thereby depriving the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of funds belonging to it, which are needed urgently to fund pressing national projects under the 2017 budget.”
While moving the ex-parte application,,George opined that “it would best serve the interest of justice for Justice Obiozor to order the banks to remit the funds to the Federal Government, to prevent the funds from being moved or dissipated.
“The withheld funds are urgently required for the implementation of the 2017 budget. The budget has a lifespan of 12 months and we are already in the middle of the year. By hiding these funds, the Federal Government is being forced to borrow money from these commercial banks at exorbitant interest rate,” Mr. Akinseye-George added.
After listening to the counsel, Mr. Obiozor granted the interim orders.
He, subsequently, adjourned till August 8, 2017, for anyone interested in the funds to appear before him to show cause why the interim orders should not be made permanent.
While the other banks named in the violation of federal government policy have cleared the air distancing self from the allegations, all efforts to get the spokespersons of these banks failed to yield fruits as their mobile phones were not connecting as at the time of filling this report.