A senator has restated his stance that a Nigerian bank has a case to answer about a petition written to the Senate.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Ayo Akinyelure, said the management of United Bank for Africa (UBA) has to explain the alleged withdrawals of N41 billion from accounts belonging to NITEL /MTEL domiciled with it by liquidators of the telecommunication firms.
This comes two weeks after the committee summoned the UBA Group Managing Director, Kennedy Uzoka, to appear before it and give necessary explanations.
The panel alleged that UBA defrauded NITEL of about N41 billion from N42 billion that liquidators of the telecommunications company deposited there after being sold to MTEL. The allegation was made on the grounds of petitions forwarded to it to that effect by J .U Ayogu and Co, on behalf of NITEL/MTEL.
Mr Akinyelure had told journalists that UBA made unauthorised withdrawals from the accounts of the liquidated telecommunications companies four times and technically stole N41 billion out of the N42 billion that liquidators of the firm deposited there.
However, a former Managing Director of UBA, Tony Elumelu, denied allegations of his involvement in the alleged fraud.
He gave Mr Akinyelure seven days to retract his comments linking him (Mr Elumelu) to the alleged fraud and threatened to sue the lawmaker should he fail to retract the statement and publicly apologise to Mr Elumelu over the allegation.
Alhough Mr Akinyelure said, last week, that he was not perturbed by the threat, his latest statement however, states that his comments were not meant to blackmail Mr Elumelu or cause malicious damage to the bank but to let the public know about the allegations and seek explanations to that regard.
The bank had also said the matter was in court and the Senate should allow the court rule on it.
In his statement entitled: “Clarification of Allegations of false and malicious publication against Chief Tony Elumelu, Chairman/CEO of UBA Plc”, the lawmaker said the press briefing became necessary having invited relevant parties for a closed-door meeting twice to resolve the issues amicably without success.
This is even as he emphasised the need for UBA to appear before the committee to answer to the two petitions filed against them by creditors and liquidators of NITEL and MTEL. He said there were two separate petitions and only one was before the court.
“There are two separate petitions against UBA before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for consideration in respect of alleged unauthorised withdrawals of N41 billion out of N42 billion from NITEL and MTEL Accounts .
“The first of such Petitions by Liquidators at NITEL & MTEL was from Messrs Otunba O. Sonbore against UBA tor N685,390,365,25 for refund to access bank charges against NITEL and MTEL account in Liquidation.
“This case was brought before the High Court and Appeal Court and judgment was In favour of the Liquidators at NITEL/MTEL, which has however been appealed against by UBA in Supreme Court, the basis upon which the Committee stepped down further hearing on it in line with Senate rules,” the statement read in part.
The second petition against the bank, he said, was referred to the committee on July 1 and was written by J. U. Ayogu Esq., a lawyer on behalf of the Creditors of the Liquidated NITEL and MTEL against the Managing Director at UBA Plc for alleged deliberate denial of payment of over N41.8 billion withdrawn from various accounts at NITEL without provision of tickets for withdrawals as follows:
*N29,882,868,204.17 on NITEL account 1142030000705 was withdrawn without authorisation and non-provision of tickets up till now.
*N11,672,467,105.19 withdrawn by UBA Plc without authorization from account 1003537230 which was the closing balance at the account an Liquidation.
*N169,128,039.24 withdrawn from NITEL Plc account 100729072 without authorisation and non provision of tickets up till now.
*N22,948,854.73 also withdrawn without authorisation and without provision at tickets till date.
*N6,866,171.71 transferred to the Office at the Accountant General of the Federation without authorisation to be reversed back to account.
“The above transactions were not in anyway being litigated against by the UBA in the court of law and therefore the committee only call on UBA Plc Management to come and justify their actions for not providing tickets for unauthorised withdrawals from NITEL/MTEL accounts up till now and secondly to show court processes it has on any of the above that will convince the Committee not to order for reversal of outstanding amounts back to the xustomers account after seven years till date,” he added.
No date has been announced for the meeting and the UBA is yet to respond to the latest invitation.