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Court orders 7 banks to remit $793 million hidden by MDAs

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– A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the remittance of $793 million to the federal government of Nigeria
– The court ordered that the money allegedly hidden in the banks in violation to the Treasury Single Account policy be remitted – The attorney general of the federation said some of the ministries, department, and agencies colluded with the banks to hide the money A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the remittance of $793 million (N249.59 billion) to the federal government of Nigeria. The court in its ruling ordered that the money allegedly hidden in the banks is violation to the Treasury Single Account policy be remitted, Premium Times reports. The banks involved in the violation include: United Bank for Africa; Diamond Bank Plc; Skye Bank Plc; First Bank Nigeria Limited; Fidelity Bank Plc; Keystone Bank Limited; and Sterling Bank Plc. READ ALSO: Nnamdi Kanu is a nonentity – OPC thunders after IPOB leader insulted OBJ, Tinubu In his ruling, Justice Chuka Obiozor mandated the banks to remit various amounts owed into the federal governments’ asset recovery dollars account with the Central Bank of Nigeria. Counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Yemi Akinseye-George said a total of $367.4 million was illegally hidden in UBA by three government agencies. He also said that $41 million was hidden in a NAPIMS fixed deposit account with Skye Bank, while Diamond bank, First Bank, Fidelity, Keystone and Sterling Banks had $277.9 million, $18.9m, $24.5m, $17m and $46.5m respectively.

The AGF also alleged that the banks which colluded with the government officials to hide the funds failed to remit the monies. One of the agencies involved in hiding of the funds include the National Petroleum Development Company (NPDC). Justice Obiozor further directed that the court’s interim order be published in a national daily newspaper. He further adjourned the hearing on the matter be adjourned for August 8, for all individuals and agencies interested in the funds to give a reason why the interim order should not be made permanent. 

But reacting to the court’s ruling, the the divisional head, brand and communications of the Fidelity Bank Charles Aigbe said the bank is not guilty of the charges leveled against it. Aigbe said since the implementation of the TSA policy, all TSA related accounts held by Fidelity Bank were fully disclosed to the relevant authorities. He said: “We do not have any TSA related account with a balance of $24.5m 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,” Aigbe said. 

NAIJ.com earlier reported that the federal government said over N7 trillion was deposited to the TSA. The accountant general of the federation Ahmed Idris while making the announcement said the money represents all funds accrued from various ministries, department and agencies of the government. Idris said the implementation of the TSA policy had saved additional N4 billion monthly for the federal government. 

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