The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted an interim order for seven commercial banks in Nigeria to remit a total of $793m allegedly hidden with them in violation of the constitution and the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government. The Attorney General of the Federation and Chief Justice of Nigeria, Abubakar Malami, had dragged the banks before the court, accusing them of hiding the said money for some unknown government officials.
The court papers show that the affected banks include United Bank for Africa (UBA), Diamond Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, First Bank Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Limited and Sterling Bank Plc. According to court papers filed by counsel to the AGF, Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN), $367.4m was hidden by three government agencies in UBA; $41m was kept in a National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) fixed deposit account with Skye Bank, $277.9m was in Diamond Bank, $18.9m in First Bank, $24.5m in Fidelity Bank, $17m in Keystone Bank, and $46.5m in Sterling Bank.
According to the court papers, the domiciled funds were revenues, donations, transfers, refunds, grants, taxes, fees, dues, tariffs etc accruable to the Federal Government from ministries, departments, parastatals and agencies.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor directed the banks to remit the monies to the designated CBN Asset Recovery Dollars Account immediately. He warned that the remittance order would be made permanent on August 8th unless anyone comes forward to explain to him why the funds should not be forfeited permanently.