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Banks deny violation of TSA rules

Some of the Nigerian banks ordered by the Federal High Court in Lagos to remit $793.2m, allegedly hidden with them in contravention of the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy have denied any wrongdoing.
One of the banks, Skye Bank, said it neither colluded nor unilaterally hid the reported sum or any other funds in its custody.
The bank insisted that the funds were held with the full knowledge of relevant agencies of the government, including the National Assembly as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Department of State Services (DSS), and the Inspector General of Police.
United Bank for Africa (UBA) also confirmed that it had paid the government all the money due to it.
On its part, Fidelity Bank denied owing the government $24.5m and that it has contacted the relevant agency to understand what account the government was referring to in its request for monies owed.
Sterling Bank also noted that it does not hold any sum in any currency as a deposit from the affected agencies, and has written formally to the Accountant General of the Federation for clarification of claim.
The reactions come 24 hours after Justice Chuka Obiozor directed the banks to remit to the designated CBN Asset Recovery Dollars Account, the various amounts allegedly kept in their custody illegally.
The judge gave the interim order after listening to an ex-parte application filed by counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, Professor Yemi Akinseye-George.
While arguing the application, Professor Akinseye-George said it would best serve the interest of justice for the court to order the banks to remit the funds to the Federal Government to prevent the funds from being diverted, misapplied, stolen or misappropriated.
In early August 2015, the Federal Government had directed all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), including to make payments into a Treasury Single Account (TSA).
The government had expressed optimism that the directive would promote transparency and facilitate compliance with Sections 80 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution.

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