Alleged N7bn Excess Charges: Unity Bank responds to presidential panel’s allegations

Unity Bank
Unity Bank [Photo: The Guardian Nigeria]

Unity Bank has countered the allegations by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIPRPP) that it overcharged the accounts of federal ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) and had refused to refund the excess charges.

The panel made the allegations of “economic sabotage”on Monday.

But in a statement on Tuesday signed by the spokesperson of the bank, Mathew Obiazikwor, the bank accused the panel of misinforming the public and misrepresenting the bank’s position

“In the ongoing investigation, Unity Bank has conducted itself professionally by providing all evidence of customers’ instructions requested by the panel as it relates to all the MDAs”.

The bank said it had earlier transferred all the balances belonging MDAs to their respective TSA accounts in Central Bank of Nigeria as far back as 2016.

The statement said the bank cooperated with the panel upon approach in 2018.

“But out of its own volition, the panel refused to admit further documentary evidence from the Bank when it was obvious that the Bank has no balances kept in its books for the MDAs.

“ Instead, the panel suspended the investigation as apparently, it could not fault any of the evidence presented by the Bank,” it said.

It said the panel in an earlier letter requested the bank to accept culpability and pay off a certain sum deemed outstanding.

The statement said the bank objected and insisted on completing the reconciliation exercise “because of the claims presented at the point against the Bank were unfounded and frivolous

“It is therefore surprising for the SPIPRPP to turn back and issue a statement alleging sabotage when it abandoned its sitting and investigation midway

“It must be emphasised that, without prejudice to the constitutional power of Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC) as the sole agency of government to investigate, review, reconcile and collect revenue for government, the bank co-operated fully with SPIPRPP and its consultants in the investigation process and it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Unity Bank has all records to show that it does its banking transactions transparently and in compliance with extant banking regulations and at no time took charges on the MDAs that were outside what is contained in the Bankers Tariffs, which guide banking operations in Nigeria”.

The bank maintained that the allegations “are ill-motivated as falsely presented in a press statement purportedly sent to the public.”

It also called on its customers and the general public to disregard the allegations.

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