The House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating unclaimed funds in commercial banks has said it uncovered N300 billion unclaimed funds in some commercial banks.
The committee disclosed this on Wednesday when some banks appeared bbefore it in Abuja.
The committee, chaired by Uyime Idem (PDP, Akwa-Ibom), was mandated to investigate the status of “the suspicious unclaimed funds trapped in commercial banks, including the advance payments for government contracts”.
In addition, the committee is to investigate an alleged infraction by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Mr Idem said the committee has so far discovered N300 billion and is upbeat about discovering more than N1.3trillion.
“So far, we have discovered about N300 billion. I am sure that by the time we are done with this assignment, we might exceed the target given to us by the leadership of the House,” he said.
Mr Idem had said Citi Bank is owing the federal government about N99 billion, with the breakdown as follow; $287 million (when converted to naira) and N72 million.
According to him, the N99 billion was extracted from the document submitted by the bank to the committee.
However, bank’s representative disagreed with the figure bandied by the lawmakers.
Citi Bank’s Executive-Director, Operations and Technology, Ngozi Omoke-Eyi, said the bank has only seven accounts, adding that the account with the highest amount has N203,000 in that account.
“The highest balance here is 203,000 dollars. The rest are naira and very small. In fact, I even made an error, it is in Naira. There are five of them without link to BVN.”
Afolabi Olamilekan (APC, Osun), a member of the committee, accused the bank of committing criminal act by changing the document submitted to the committee. He, therefore, moved a motion for Ms Omoke-Eyi to be put under oath.
“We need to put them on oath. What they are doing is criminal. What they are doing is criminal. They are trying to give us a figure that is different from the one they gave us,” Mr Olamilekan said.
Explaining how the committee arrived at N99 billion, Mr Idem said the committee computed the balances in all accounts without link to the BVN.
“We looked at customers in your bank, based on the document you provided. We sat down and computed the balances of the accounts that are not linked to BVN. That is how we arrived at this N99 billion. This document came from you,” Mr Idem stated.
Mr Omoke-Eyi denied that she changed any document. However, following the argument between the committee and the representative of the bank, it was resolved that the bank should sit down with the consultants working with the committee.
NIPC owing FG N5.2 billion
The representatives of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) also appeared before the committee. Mr Idem said the commission is indebted to the federal government to the tune of N5.2 billion.
The Director of Finance and Accounts of NIPC, James Akwada, who represented the agency, pleaded for some time to work with the consultants to reconcile the two accounts.
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