Unity Bank Plc and its Managing Director, Mrs. Tomi Somefun may be charged to court for economic sabotage by the Federal Government as the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property has established that the bank has fleeced some of its agencies to the tune of N7 billion as a result of “excess and arbitrary charges”.
A statement by SPIPRPP’s Head, Media & Communication¸ Lucie-Ann Laha, said; “The N7bn represents the sum of $15,561,769.99 and N1,488,455,810.90), being excess and arbitrary charges on accounts of some agencies of government by the bank before the institution of Treasury Single Account”.
The statement said the agencies from whose account the “excess and arbitrary charges” had been deducted by the bank were the Nigerian Ports Authority, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigeria Customs Service, the Kaduna Refinery and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.
According to the SPIPRPP, the bank had acknowledged the offence and agreed on the amount involved earlier in February, this year, but “has neither proffered a payment plan nor demonstrated good faith by actually initiating repayments”.
“Instead, the bank has severed all communications with the Panel in this regard,” the panel said.
The panel stated that it “may slam a charge of economic sabotage on Unity Bank if the bank persists in refusing to return the over seven billion Naira it owes Federal Government, to the Federation Account”.
The panel led by Okoi Obono-Obla said it had commissioned a team of experts including forensic auditors to look into the operations of accounts of Ministries Department and Agencies in commercial banks within the country prior to the commencement of TSA.
It said the effort had unearthed some sharp practices and elicited indictments. “Some of the indicted banks have since agreed to a refund plan and in fact commenced payments. Unity Bank has however not made any move in this regard.”