The managing director of First Bank Nigeria, FBN, Kazeem Adeduntan will soon have his day with the house of representatives following the discovery of over N14 billion federal government funds lodged in various fictitious accounts with the oldest commercial bank in the country. The discovery has now brought the total funds uncovered so far to close to N400 billion.
Even though it is not yet clear when Adeduntan will appear before the adhoc committee, sources privy to the ongoing investigations told newsmen that letters have been sent to the management to that effect, but there was no feedback yet from the bank.
Some chief executive officers that had earlier been invited were said to have shunned the committee over fear that may possibly implicate their banks during investigations. Sad over the development, the committee was forced to issue a threat of arrest to erring banks earlier in the week.
The committee, has, however fixed next Tuesday as deadline for all the concerned bank officials to appear before it after which a warrant will be issued for their arrest.
Some questions that the House Adhoc Committee investigating government funds trapped in many commercial banks in the country wonder why First Bank operates numerous accounts without the Bank Verification Number, BVN as mandated by CBN governing rule.
The committee had revealed recently that 45 million bank accounts are still being operated without BVN.
The lawmakers will also try to find out from the officials of the bank the identities of governmnet agencies and parastatals that lodged the humongous funds with the bank, aside from tasking FBN management to explain why such funds had not been remitted to the government despite several directives to that effect.
In line with all of these, the managing director of the bank will be summoned by the committee to shed lights on the matter, a member of the committee who said he was not authorised to speak on the issue, told the magazine on Thursday.
“This is a serious issue that needs to be adressed promptly and we are going to do that to forestall any future infringement from these banks. Among others, we are also trying to know how bank account could be operational without the BVN as prescribed by the law. The National assembly will not spare any bank that deliberately flout the extant law of the country,” the lawmaker said.
According to him, “we are also trying to find out how much involved are government officials from parastals and agencies in this matter. We will get to the bottom of all of this and apply necessary actions where it is required”, he said.
The committee had on Tuesday disclosed that over N300 billion has been uncovered in various commercial banks. On Wednesday, the lawmakers said fresh discovery of N83 billion and N14 billion had been made in Stanbic IBTC and First Bank, respectively, effectively bringing the total to N397 billion that has been uncovered so far.
Recall that Unyime Idem, the chairman of the committee had earlier warned bank chief executive officers that they face arrest if they failed to cooperate with the committee, noting that many of the said accounts were being fraudulently operated without signatories and BVN.
“These accounts have been existing. We don’t open accounts without signatories. We said customers did not provide BVN details. What we mean by ‘No Signatory” is that we have listed the signatories. That’s what
happened,” he said.
According to him, “If you don’t have BVN and it’s an existing account from the onset and if you are meant to be a signatory to the account and we don’t have your BVN, we delist you and you can’t operate the account anymore. We are not deleting ownership. We are just stopping the operations of the account until you comply with the requirements.
The committee was set up in February this year to search for over N1.3 trillion belonging to the federal government believed to have been secretly stacked in some commercials banks by government agencies and parastatals with alleged connivance of some top officials of commercial banks.