Polaris Bank has said that it has returned back to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s $300 million lodged with the bank in 2012.
This disclosure was made by the Managing Director of the bank, Mr Innocent Ike, while appearing before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on assessment and status of all recovered loots from 2002-2020.
What the Polaris Bank Managing Director said about NNPC money
Ike said that the money which was lodged with the bank by the NNPC was at no time hidden from any public or government agencies, adding that the money should not be classified as looted fund.
The managing director explained that part of the strategy adopted in payment of the deposit was to remit it to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and then give the apex bank instruction to credit the NNPC, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Although the NNPC was yet to confirm the receipt of the money paid into the CBN’s account, Ike urged the NNPC to write and confirm payment, stressing that Polaris Bank had written to the apex bank to that effect.
The managing director also disclosed that the interest of the sum kept with the bank since 2012 was dully paid.
The Lower House queries the motive of keeping the NNPC money
The House of Representative committee in its reaction queried the motive of NNPC keeping the sum with the bank without having an initial account with the bank before the $300 million was lodged with it.
The Chairman of the Committee, Adejoro Adeogun, said that such motive was suspicious, adding that money was also hurriedly paid to NNPC when the bank received a letter from it to appear before the committee for an explanation.
He stated that the money had spent 7 years with the bank without any action, adding that the bank must have thought the money had been forgotten.
He asked, “You have about six years when this deposit was in your custody. It is impossible to forget 300 million U.S dollars; were you thinking it has been forgotten?”
He accused the bank of exhibiting carelessness when it comes to money deposited by the Federal Government.
However, one of the petitioners, Tosin Ojomo, a lawyer who appeared before the committee, faulted the managing director’s claim, stating that arrests were made before the bank confessed that the money was truly in its custody.
The committee then summoned the NNPC and CBN for further clarifications on the status of the money but asked Polaris Bank to furnish it with documents relating to cash movements in the account from 2012 to 2020.