NNPC Refutes Banks’ claims on alleged hidden $793.2m in secret keeping agreement

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Friday reacted to the controversy surrounding alleged unremitted $793.2 million held secretly in seven commercial banks.

The corporation, in a statement by its spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu, said, contrary to media reports, the state-owned oil company did not collude with the banks to keep the accounts secret, by refusing to transfer them to the Treasury Single Accounts, at the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The Federal Government accused the banks of colluding with the National Investments Management Services (NAPIMS), an NNPC subsidiary, to conceal the accounts.

Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court, Lagos on Thursday in his ruling in the case by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation,ordered the banks to remit the amounts in their custody to the designated Federal Government’s Asset Recovery dollars account with the CBN.

Details of the various accounts showed that about $367.4million was kept in United Bank for Africa, UBA; $41million in Skye Bank; $277.9million in Diamond Bank, $18.9million in First Bank; $24.5million in Fidelity Bank; $17million in Keystone Bank, and $46.5million in Sterling Bank.

But, Mr. Ughamadu, said the allegation was not only misplaced, but equally misleading. Apart from the accounts held in three banks, against the reported seven, he said the total balance in the accounts was about $231.8million, and not $793.2million.

He gave details of the balances in the accounts as $174.4million in Diamond Bank, $40.7million in Skye Bank and $16.7million in Keystone Bank.

Besides, the NNPC spokesperson debunked allegations of collusion with the banks to conceal the accounts.

Prior to the creation of the Asset Recovery Account, Mr. Ughamadu said the Corporation had already taken steps to inform the Presidency, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, and the CBN of the existence of the accounts.

“It would be totally out of place to move the funds to the Federal Government Asset Recovery Account as reported,” Mr. Ughamadu said.

“It is unreasonable and sheer waste of funds to pay any agent five percent, whistle blowing fee for the phantom recovery of genuine NNPC funds which had been disclosed to the Presidency, CBN and other relevant stakeholders,” he added.

“Again, contrary to media reports, the CBN, in line with the directive of the Presidency, was supervising the remittances of the funds into the TSA Account with the apex bank.

“As an entity with fiduciary responsibility to the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, NNPC’s commitment to transparency and accountability remains unwavering,” Mr. Ughamadu said.

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