20 May 2019

Nigeria: Alleged N7bn Excess Charges - Presidential Panel to Charge Unity Bank for Alleged Economic Sabotage

The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property says it will slam a charge of economic sabotage on Unity Bank if it refuses to return over N7 billion it owed the Nigerian Government.

The Head, Media and Communication of the Panel, Lucie-Ann Laha, gave the warning in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

According to her, the sum represents $15,561,769.99 and N1,488,455,810.90 being excess and arbitrary charges on accounts of some agencies of government by the bank before the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) system.

She said the agencies included the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Kaduna Refinery, and NIMASA.

"Unity Bank, which had agreed to this amount in February, has neither proffered a payment plan nor demonstrated good faith by actually initiating payments.

"Instead, the bank has severed all communications with the panel in this regard.

"It may be recalled that the panel had commissioned a team of experts, including forensic auditors, to look into the operations of accounts of MDAs in commercial banks within the country prior to the commencement of TSA," Mrs Laha said.

The spokesperson said the exercise had unearthed some sharp practices and elicited indictments.

She added that some of the indicted banks had since agreed to a refund plan and in fact commenced payments.

"Unity Bank has, however, not made any move in this regard.

"The Panel is unrelenting in its resolve towards ensuring that economic saboteurs are brought to book and looted public property, including money, duly returned to government." (NAN)

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