Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court has ordered the remittance of $793,200,000 by some Nigerian commercial banks to the federal government.
The money was allegedly hidden with the banks in violation of the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account policy.The banks are United Bank for Africa; Diamond Bank Plc; Skye Bank Plc; First Bank Nigeria Limited; Fidelity Bank Plc; Keystone Bank Limited; and Sterling Bank Plc.
The judge ordered the banks to remit the various amounts into the designated Federal Government’s Asset Recovery dollars account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to court documents filed by counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Yemi Akinseye-George, “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 documents indicated 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 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,” he said.