Despite claims by the authorities of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) last week that it had uncovered fraud totaling N11.23 billion lodged in three banks, including First Bank, the Management of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc, has denied the allegation.
The bank said it did not conceal funds belonging to NPA.
According to the NPA, the other banks involved in the fraud totalling N11.23 billion included Heritage Bank and First City Monument Bank (FCMB).
But the First Bank of Nigeria said in a statement issued to NSE on Tuesday: “In view of the media story making the rounds on the NPA funds allegedly concealed in the Bank, the Management wishes to clarify that following the Federal Government of Nigeria’s directive on the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the subsequent Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive to the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to transfer all MDAs accounts to the TSA with the CBN, First Bank has since complied and transferred all MDAs funds including that of the NPA to the designated TSA account.
“For the avoidance of doubt and for the information of the general public, we do not have such funds in any of our accounts or deposit portfolio,” the statement added.
Sources had revealed that the funds were collected by the banks as revenue for NPA, but the banks allegedly failed to move it into NPA’s TSA with the CBN and were earning interests.
About $24.1million (N7.47billion at N310 per dollar) was allegedly traced to Heritage Bank, the successor bank to the defunct Societe Generale Bank, while another €6 million (N2.09 billion at N348 to a dollar) was allegedly concealed in two banks – First Bank of Nigeria and First City Monument Bank-.