A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered seven banks to remit to the Federal Government $793,200,000 (about N249,659,700,000.00) allegedly hidden with them in breach of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.
A vacation judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor,made the interim order following an ex parte application by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).
The judge warned that the remittance order would be made permanent on August 8, unless cause was shown why it should not.
The AGF, through his counsel, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN), accused the commercial banks of illegally keeping the sums in their custody for “unknown government officials”.
Justice Obiozor ordered the banks to remit the money to the designated Federal Government’s Asset Recovery dollars account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The banks are 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 processes filed by 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.
The documents stated that $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.
The AGF’s application was supported by a 15-paragraph affidavit deposed to by a lawyer from Akinseye-George’s law firm, Vincent Adodo.
Adodo averred that the banks colluded with Federal Government officials to hide the funds in breach of the TSA policy.
The judge adjourned till August 8 “for anyone interested in the funds to appear” before him “to show cause why the interim orders should not be made permanent”.