The founder of popular transport company, Peace Mass Transit (PMT), Dr Maduka Onyishi, at the weekend displayed a rare feat of honesty and integrity, by returning a whopping sum of N2,219,500,000 which was overpaid into his account by First Bank.
The amount was refunded by the business mogul in the presence of the press and other stakeholders. A cheque bearing the overpaid amount was received on behalf of First Bank by the business manager, commercial banking, Mr Kokelu Ben and the branch manager, Unity Bank, Enugu Branch, Mrs Ifeoma Eleanya.
Explaining how he made discovery of the huge sum in his First Bank account, Onyishi said that he had requested for $3million from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through Unity Bank PLC only to be paid $10million instead, which is about N3,219,500,000 representing an excess of N2,219,500,000.
His words: “The amount they paid in was N3,219,500,000 but my own money there is N1,000,000,000 so the balance is not my money. I said that I cannot invest this money and be gaining from another person’s money and I can’t also keep it. I can’t keep $7million that doesn’t belong to me. “I told my bank to pay money into my account that I want to take $3million and they paid $10million instead. I called them and informed them that the amount they paid to me was more than the amount I requested.
. “I was angry with them. I asked them how come I have this kind of money and I’m not aware of it. I asked them how come they went ahead to invest my money without telling me so that I can use my money and then I can know how much I have.
”I told them that they have failed to give me a statement of my account even when I have demanded for it severally. I discovered later that the amount was even more than what we are talking about because there was another person I asked the bank to pay money to whom they even paid extra. “I made enquiries and they told me that I should wait until when it is time for banks to do reconciliation, they will discover whether the fault was from First Bank, Central Bank or Unity Bank. I waited for a whole month and no one called me. I told the devil that he is a deceiver and a liar. He knows that I need money now that is why this thing is happening now.
”That’s why I said, let me invite First Bank and Unity Bank and also invite journalists. I said let me give the money to First Bank, if they find out that the money is mine, they should return it. If it belongs to Unity Bank or CBN give it to them. If it is your own, keep it. So I am giving this money to you to keep on trust.”
He called on the management of CBN, Unity Bank and First Bank to look into the origin of the money and such leakages could come with dire consequences for any commercial institution.
‘I have sent emails to the banks to inform them of the wrong payment and they didn’t find anything. My account in First Bank was not debited so they did not see it. Unity Bank did not see anything because they just received the money.;
“Nobody knew if the money came through the Central Bank because the money came through three organizations before it came to my account in Unity Bank. Why I am doing this is that if it is either First Bank, Unity Bank or Unity Bank that has this fault. They should as matter of urgency block the loophole because this is a sign that people’s money has been missing every day. It can lead to total collapse of the bank”
In his response, the business manager, commercial banking, First Bank, Mr Kokelu Ben said,’ I don’t have any official statement now. But I must commend Chief Onyishi, he is a man of high integrity. We will look into the matter and investigate how the problem arose” he said.