Reps Probe Banks Over Dividends, Unremitted Funds
The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, resolved to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the “suspicious and unclaimed funds” in various accounts in commercial banks in Nigeria.
The House mandated the committee to also investigate the unremitted funds collected on behalf of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government by the banks.
The House further mandated the committee to look into the alleged “several infractions by the Central Bank of Nigeria against the provisions of the enabling Act and Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the good people of Nigeria, especially in the area of intervention projects and programs.”
The committee is to report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.
These resolutions were based on a motion moved by a member, Dachung Bagos, titled ‘Need to Investigate Unclaimed Funds in Nigerian Commercial Banks and the Infractions by the Central Bank of Nigeria,’ which the lawmakers unanimously adopted.
Moving the motion, Bagos noted that the Bank Verification Number was introduced in the banking system by the CBN in 2014 to check and combat money laundering, illicit financing, and duplicitous ownership of bank accounts used for fraud.
He also noted that almost seven years after the introduction of the BVN, about 45.85 million bank accounts across Nigeria were yet to be linked to BVNs.
According to him, data released by the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Systems on June 23, 2021, disclosed that the total number of bank accounts in Nigeria, as of May 2019, was at 122.071 million and the active accounts, as of May, 2020, stood at 72.936 million.
Bagos said, “The House is worried that despite the introduction by the CBN of the BVN to curb the menace in the financial sectors, about 71 million customers still use their accounts without the compulsory identification, per data from the NIBSS.
“The House is concerned that the lack of legal regulatory framework and political will to deal with the unclaimed assets, especially funds abandoned and trapped in commercial banks will continue to put Nigeria behind so many countries in the world that have developed the legal framework to deal with these assets.
“The House is also worried that the recent disclosure about the funds collected by commercial banks on behalf of some key MDAs of the Federal Government to the tune of N1.2tn, in revenues they generated but failed to remit to the federation’s account since 2016, as required by law.”