N1.2trn Unclaimed Funds: House Committee Asks Stanbic IBTC, First Bank to Remit N97bn to Govt
* Urges JAMB to refund N74bn before Wednesday
*Citibank denies forgery allegations
Juliet Akoje in Abuja
The House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on the recovery of N1.2 trillion unclaimed funds from banks, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) has discovered another N83 billion with Stanbic IBTC and another N14 billion with First Bank of Nigeria Limited.
During the continued hearing of the committee on Wednesday, it was revealed that over 2 million operational bank accounts with First Bank had no Bank Verification Number (BVN).
The committee while expressing disappointment over the inability of the bank to abide by the laid down rules for financial transactions, insisted that the bank should take immediate steps to refund the money in question to the government coffers.
It was revealed that N3.2 billion of the total sum Stanbic IBTC was owing the government were in accounts without BVN.
Responding, the bank’s Executive Director, Risk Management, Kola Lawal explained that he was hearing of the figure for the first time despite making submissions earlier to the committee.
Lawal pleaded for more time from the consultants to the committee before they would take any decision regarding the matter.
But the lawmakers insisted that the committee was looking for government monies in the hands of both individuals and corporate entities to augment the government to fund the yearly budget and reduce external borrowings
Also, the Committee also called on the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board (JAMB) to begin the remittance of N74 billion in its kitty before next week Wednesday
Appearing before the lawmakers, a Director with JAMB, Muftau Bello also pleaded for more time to study and reconcile the documents relating to the said amount before making his submissions
The committee granted the prayers of the respondents with the hope to reconvene from Tuesday next week for further hearing
Meanwhile, Citibank Nigeria Limited (Citi) in a statement yesterday, said it had provided extensive evidence to the Committee, adding that, “the Committee has since acknowledged that the claim that Citi is owing N99 billion to the federal government of Nigeria is completely incorrect.”
A statement from the bank added: “Furthermore, the forgery allegations against Citi and any of its employees are false. The Committee has directed Citi to provide additional documents which Citi will provide.
“Citi continues to conduct its business in Nigeria with utmost transparency, the highest level of integrity and is in full compliance with all applicable laws.