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…Serves notice of forfeiture order on banks
Efforts of the Federal Government in tracking down the seven banks who allegedly failed to transfer about $793.2m belonging to some federal agencies to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) became more serious on Tuesday as it has completed serving them with the order of the Federal High Court in Lagos directing a temporary forfeiture.
Lead counsel to the Government, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN), who obtained the ex parte order on July 20, confirmed that although the banks was on Saturday served through substituted means by advertising the court orders in newspapers; for the order to be fully enforceable, it required physical service on the relevant personnel of the lenders.
As at yesterday evening, every bank had been duly served even though all them denied the act in several media statements.
Prof Akinseye-George noted that “We could not serve the banks on Friday because as of the time the certified true copy of the enrolled order was processed and released by the court, the banks had closed for work”.
“Therefore, we commenced service on the banks today (Monday) at their headquarters in Lagos. By 4pm, before the close of work, we had served all the banks.
The affected banks are United Bank for Africa Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, First Bank Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Limited and Sterling Bank Plc.
Business Hilights recalls that Justice Chuka Obiozor on Thursday ordered the seven banks to remit the various amounts being allegedly kept illegally in their custody to the designated Federal Government’s Asset Recovery Dollar Account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Papers filed by counsel for the Attorney General of the Federation, Akinseye-George, a total of $367.4m was illegally hidden by three government agencies in UBA, while a sum of $41m was illegally kept in a NAPIMS fixed deposit account with Skye Bank.
Details from the file show that $277.9m was hidden in Diamond Bank; $18.9m in First Bank; $24.5m in Fidelity Bank; $17m in Keystone Bank; and $46.5m in Sterling Bank.
The said funds were revenues, donations, transfers, refunds, grants, taxes, fees, dues and tariffs accruable to the Federal Government from different ministries, departments, parastatals and agencies.
Summary of the suit indicates that “The 1st to 7th respondents (banks), in collaboration with and/or collusion with unknown officials of the Federal Government, conspired to disobey the relevant constitutional provisions, thereby depriving the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of funds belonging to it, which are needed urgently to fund pressing national projects under the 2017 budget.”
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