On Tuesday, the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property blamed the denial by Unity Bank Plc of an alleged N7bn indebtedness to some ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government. The panel in a declaration by Lucie-Ann Laha, its Head, Media & Communication, renewed its threat to “visit full force of the law upon the bank” if it failed to desist from its denial.
On Tuesday, the panel, in its declaration, blaming the bank’s claim, presented what it referred to as “the handwritten resolution reached at the reconciliation meeting, duly signed by representatives of the panel and the bank.” On Monday, the SPIPRPP, led by Mr Okoi Obono-Obla, had said it might charge the bank with economic sabotage incase it continue to fail to remit the money to the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account.
In a declaration by the SPIPRPP, Laha, said the N7bn “represents the sum of $15,561,769.99 and N1,488,455,810.90), being excess and arbitrary charges on accounts of some agencies of government by the bank before the institution of Treasury Single Account.” The declaration said the agencies from whose accounts the “excess and arbitrary charges” had been deducted by the bank were the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigeria Customs Service, the Kaduna Refinery and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
It alleged that the bank had agreed on the amount earlier in February, this year but “has neither proffered a payment plan nor demonstrated good faith by actually initiating payments.” The bank, through Mr Matthew Obiazikwor, its Head, Corporate Communications, denied any indebtedness to MDAs or any agreement to return money to the TSA. “The bank therefore maintains that the allegations of the SPIPRPP are superfluous, frivolous, ill-motivated and unfounded, as falsely presented in a press statement purportedly sent to the public,” the statement had read.
On Tuesday, in a counter-statement, the panel stated, “The attention of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property has been drawn to the statement by Unity Bank refuting the Panel‘s assertion that the bank is to refund over N7bn to the Federation Account in respect of excess and arbitrary charges on Federal Government accounts that were domiciled therein before the advent of TSA. “Below is the handwritten resolution reached at the reconciliation meeting, duly signed by representatives of the panel and the bank. “Unity Bank will do well to desist from its denial and honour its agreement, pay its debts to the Federal Government; otherwise, the panel will be constrained to visit the full force of the law upon the bank.”