Up to $21.3m of Federal Government’s funds held for the Nigerian Port Authority by Heritage Bank has been trapped in its vault since 2016, the NPA told the House of Representatives in Abuja on Wednesday.
The Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Usman, who made the disclosure, said efforts to get the bank to remit the money into the Treasury Single Account had met a brick wall so far.
She appeared before the an hoc committee of the House investigating compliance with the TSA policy by government agencies.
The committee is chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Kano State, Mr. Danburam Abubakar-Nuhu.
She stated that a series of intervention by the Central Bank of Nigeria to retrieve the money had failed.
According to Usman, Heritage Bank’s reason for not remitting the money is that “if such a huge withdrawal is allowed, it will have stress on the bank.”
She spoke further, “We wrote the CBN a number of letters and they promised to provide a guarantee.
“Up till date, they have not given us the guarantee.”
The MD further informed the committee that another sum of 6million euros kept by First City Monument Bank for NPA was “suddenly” seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Usman said the bank operated the account for the NPA on its Cargo Tracking Services operations before the seizure by the EFCC.
“The EFCC suddenly moved the 6m euros from FCMB to their own account; they just unilaterally swept the money”, she added.
When the committee asked why the anti-graft agency seized the money, the MD replied that no clear reasons were given.
However, she said it might be connected to investigations being conducted by the EFCC, but which the NPA did not have the details.
The committee immediately summoned the Ag. Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, to appear before it to explain why the money was confiscated.
Usman, who also answered questions on the relationship between NPA and Intels, said the parties resolved their differences after Intels agreed to comply with the TSA policy.
The MD disclosed that effective from November 1 this year, Intels started remitting all revenues it collected on behalf of the NPA into the TSA.
However, she disclosed that Intels had not remitted an outstanding revenue of over $130m, which it collected for 10 months prior to November 1.