Falana asks CBN, FG to account for recovered funds

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Mr. Femi Falana (SAN)

Senior Advocate of Nigeria and rights activist, Femi Falana, has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to confirm receipt of $470.4 million and N8.8 billion allegedly recovered by the Nigeria Police Force.

Falana said notwithstanding the lack of coordination between the police and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the apex bank ought to have confirmed receipt of the funds, which were allegedly deposited in commercial banks; instead of the Treasury Single Account (TSA).

He also called on the Federal Government to account for all funds recovered since 1999; in line with an order obtained from the Federal High Court by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

Last week, the police, said it recovered public funds, including $470.4 million and N8.8 billion belonging to the NNPC BRASS/LNG, hidden in some commercial banks in the country.

Police spokesperson, Jimoh Moshhod, said the funds, which was recovered by the Monitoring Unit of the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, were part of unremitted revenue by the NNPC to the TSA in the CBN, in violation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that all public funds be domiciled in the single account.

In its reaction, NNPC management denied the allegations from the police. and insisted it had never, in any way, shape, or form, hidden any fund in commercial banks.

The corporation describing the allegation as ‘unequivocally false.’

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, said the corporation was not aware of any change in the subsisting presidential directive to the effect that all of the dollar balances must be transferred to NNPC’s CBN TSA, in US dollars.

“In addition, no such funds have been deposited into the Corporation’s CBN TSA. Consequently, NNPC’s record of the US dollar funds still yet to be transferred by a few commercial banks cannot reflect the said recovery.”

Regardless, Falana Senior reiterated that instead of seeking clarification from the police, NNPC management swiftly dismissed the report and claimed that there were no missing funds.

Said Falana: “It is strange that the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force did not contact the NNPC management before announcing the recovery of the said sum of $470.5 million and N8.8 billion.

“However, notwithstanding the lack of coordination on the part of both institutions, the Central Bank of Nigeria ought to confirm the receipt of the missing fund, which is alleged to have been deposited in the TSA.

“Apart from explaining the whereabouts of the money, the federal government should declare and account for all the funds recovered since 1999 in line with the order obtained from the Federal High Court by the Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP),” he said in a statement issued in Lagos, on Sunday.

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