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Business Court Orders 7 Banks to Remit $793.2m Hidden by Unknown Govt Officials

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Seven commercial banks in the country have been ordered by a Federal High Court in Lagos to temporarily remit a total of $793, 200, 000 allegedly hidden with them in contravention of the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account, TSA, policy.

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The presiding judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor ordered the banks to remit the various sums allegedly being kept illegally in their custody to the designated Federal Government’s Asset Recovery dollars account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

The banks in question are: United Bank for Africa, UBA; Diamond Bank Plc; Skye Bank Plc; First Bank Limited; Fidelity Bank Plc; Keystone Bank Limited; and Sterling Bank Plc.

Counsel for the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George SAN said a total of $367.4m was illegally hidden by three government agencies in UBA, while a sum of $41m was illegally kept in a NAPIMS fixed deposit account with Skye Bank.

The court papers stated that $277.9m was hidden in Diamond Bank; $18.9m in First Bank; $24.5m in Fidelity Bank; $17m in Keystone Bank; and $46.5m in Sterling Bank.

A lawyer from Akinseye-George’s law firm, Vincent Adodo, who deposed to a 15-paragraph affidavit in support of an ex parte application filed by the AGF, stated that seven banks colluded with officials of the Federal Government to hide the funds in breach of government’s TSA policy.

He said 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 said the banks had failed to remit the funds to the TSA domiciled in the CBN in violation of the guidelines issued by the Accountant General of the Federation which fixed September 15, 2015, as the deadline for such funds to be moved.
 
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