The Adhoc committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate and recover unclaimed funds trapped in various commercial banks said it has discovered over N300 billion hidden in the banks.
Chairman of the Committee, Uyime Idem, who disclosed this at the resumed hearing investigation, said the N300 billion was a fraction of the N1.2 trillion unclaimed funds in commercial banks yet to be discovered. He said the funds were hanging funds and failed transactions from government agencies and banks that have appeared before it, adding that the committee was trying to recover the money from government agencies and the banks.
He said the committee was saddled with the responsibility of recovering the N1.2 trillion, adding that about N300 billion was discovered on March 29 from banks and government agencies. He said the committee was still scrutinising documents and reports sent to it by banks and government agencies, adding that this would help the committee to recover more funds.
Idem warned that commercial banks who are yet to respond to the request by the Committee either to appear or submit documents risk being sanctioned if by Thursday they don’t show up. “The commercial banks are regulated by government and they cannot refuse us. This assignment is crucial. We will not allow any government agencies or commercial bank to undermine our power. If the commercial banks fail to appear the next line of action will be to summon them,” he said.
The lawmaker said a situation where the country would go out to borrow money to fund budget deficits but have over N1 trillion hanging somewhere was unacceptable. He added that if the monies in the banks were recovered, it would go a long way to help the country from borrowing.
The Nation reports that the committee however rejected documents presented to it by Citibank, accusing the bank of falsifying document which contradict the ones earlier presented to it by the bank. The lawmakers also accused the bank owing the Federal Government about N99 billion from accumulated failed transactions and hanging funds.
However, members of the committee were not happy with the discrepancies in the documents submitted by Citi bank which showed different figures and number of customers from the recent documents submitted by the bank.
Mohammed Bio (APC, Kwara) said the action of Citi bank was criminal, saying “they had earlier submitted an account record of customers without BVN (Bank Verification Number) with a number of 11 people with huge sums of money. But today, they made another submission on the content but the figures and number of customers stood at 7 with just little money to their names which makes it curious. “What are they trying to hide or could this be an afterthought that they had to bring these new documents”.
But the Executive Director, Operation and Technology of Citi bank, Ngozi Omokeme said they had nothing to hide and that the documents submitted were not falsified. She said “with all due respect we are not here to change any documents. Also I am not here to falsify any documents. I did not any document that is outside what we have earlier submitted. The documents are consistently the same”.