Representative panel uncovers N300bn of ‘unclaimed funds’ in commercial banks

A House of Representatives committee said it discovered 300 billion naira of “unclaimed funds” in some banks across the country.

Unyime Idem, chairman of the ad hoc commission to investigate “suspicious and unclaimed funds” in various commercial bank accounts, disclosed on Wednesday.

The committee was inaugurated by the Lower Legislative House in February, following the passage of a motion titled: “Need to Investigate Unclaimed Funds in Nigerian Commercial Banks and Offenses Committed by the Central Bank of Nigeria”.

Dachung Bagos, a Plateau lawmaker who sponsored the motion, had said years after the introduction of the bank verification number (BVN), about 45 million bank accounts across the country were still unlinked.

During its session on Wednesday, Idem said the committee was optimistic about achieving a discovery target of about 1.2 trillion naira.

Ditto said the money could be described as “suspended funds” from failed transactions by government agencies and banks.

“So far, we have uncovered about 300 billion naira. I am sure that by the time we complete this mission, we could exceed the target given to us by the management of the house,” said Same.

He said the committee is still inspecting documents and reports sent to it by banks and government agencies, adding that this will help recover more funds.

Commercial banks are regulated by the government and they cannot refuse us. This mission is crucial. We will not allow any government agency or commercial bank to undermine our power,” he said.

“If the commercial banks don’t show up, the next line of action will be to summon them.”

CitiBank, who appeared before the committee on Wednesday, was ordered to reconcile his documents and report to the panel.

The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) also appeared before the committee, and Idem informed that the agency’s debt to the Federal Government was N5.2 billion.

James Akwada, Director of Finance and Accounting, NIPC, requested some time to work with consultants to reconcile the agency’s accounts.

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