The Chairman, Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, has disclosed that the Panel recently recovered $20 Million N7.2 billion) from one of the nation’s commercial banks.
Obono-Obla will however not name the bank so as not to cause panic among the fraudulent bank’s customers. He did not also name the government agency involved in the scam.
Nigeria Everyday learnt from sources after the panel issued a statement opening the Pandora box that pressure has been on the panel not to go public with the discovery because it could rock the nation’s financial system.
It is suspected that other banks may be involved in other financial scams which the Central Bank wants to be “handled quietly” to protect the system.
The Chairman said that while investigating illegal charges and deductions by commercial banks from 2009 – 2015, the Panel had inadvertently stumbled upon $232 Million deposited in a commercial bank by a government agency, which subsequently failed to transfer the money to the TSA Account in line with government directives.
A statement from his office said he refrained from naming the bank, to avert customer panic and its attendant negative effect on the bank and the nation’s economy as a whole.
Obono-Obla who made this disclosure at a meeting with the Managing Director of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), said that the bank in question had owned up to the impropriety and agreed to pay back the money in instalments of $10 Million per month, pleading that bulk deduction would cripple the bank.
He added that as demonstration of good faith, the bank has paid an initial $20 Million to the Panel’s TSA Recovery Account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In a related development, the Chairman has said the Panel will assist the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) to recover its property illegally appropriated by fraudulent individuals.
The Managing Director of the FHA, Professor Muhammad Al-Amin had told the Chairman that the agency had uncovered shockingly unwholesome dealings which resulted in zero documentation on about 800 houses in the Authority’s Gwarinpa Estate alone.
The Managing Director explained that his administration had decided to modernize operations of the agency, following which the FHA had studied, improved upon, adopted and deployed the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) software in its efforts to computerize its data using the Gwarinpa FHA Estate as a pilot.
Prof. Al-Amin further said that efforts to correct the bizarre irregularities and anomalies unearthed by the exercise, and possibly recover property from illegal possessors has met with stiff resistance, frustrations from unbelievable quarters and even threats to life from within and outside the agency.
The Managing Director however said that the FHA is undeterred in its commitment to its mandate, buoyed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolute determination to fight corruption to a standstill and right wrongs that have led to the nation’s economic adversity. He stated that FHA sort the assistance of the Recovery Panel because of its clear mandate in this regard and record of achievements. He also mentioned that other unwholesome aspects of the discoveries have been reported to relevant anti-corruption agencies.
The Panel Chairman, who re-echoed the President’s position that corruption will always fight back, assured the Managing Director of the Panel’s commitment to deliver on its promise to help the FHA in recovering all its fraudulently acquired property.