TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Alleged Economic Sabotage: Presidential panel threatens to charge Unity Bank

By The Nigerian Voice

Unity Bank have been advised to return about 7 billion naira that it owes the Federal Government or risk being charged.The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property gave the advise Monday saying that it might charge Unity Bank with offences of economic sabotage if the bank refused to return the about N7bn the bank was owing the Federal Government.

A statement by SPIPRPP’s Head, Media and Communication¸ Lucie-Ann Laha, said 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 statement said the agencies from whose accounts the “excess and arbitrary charges” had been deducted by the bank were the Nigeria Ports Authority, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigeria Customs Service, the Kaduna Refinery and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.

It stated 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.”

“Instead, the bank has severed all communications with the panel in this regard,” it added.

Threatening to institute charges against the bank, the panel stated that it “may slam a charge of economic sabotage on Unity Bank if the bank persists in refusing to return the over N7bn it owes the Federal Government to the Federation Account.”

The panel, led by Chief Okoi Obono-Obono said it had commissioned a team of experts including forensic auditors to look into the operations of accounts of ministries, departments and agencies in commercial banks in the country prior to the commencement of the TSA.

It said the effort had unearthed some sharp practices and elicited indictments.

“Some of the indicted banks have since agreed to a refund plan and in fact commenced payments. Unity Bank has, however, not made any move in this regard,” it stated.