While the First City Monument Bank FCMB and its Shareholders defied the Covid 19 lock down directives last week, to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) by proxy and celebrate its N20.1 billion profit for the 2019 financial year, little did the shareholders know that a petition with the Economic and Financial Crimes has exposed the underbelly of the financial institution. According to the document received by the Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalists, NGIJ, Niger State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello in a letter dated 23/07/2015 from the office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Malam Zakari Abubakar appointed Ori Adeyemo, a Lagos based forensic expert as consultants to investigate deductions of unremitted 10% Withholding Tax on Credit Interest by some banks operating in the state.
At the end of the forensic investigation, the total refundable by FCMB stood at N234, 828,268.31, out of the N4.6 billion due to the state by 12 banks and one Micro Finance institution.
In his petition to the EFCC, obtained by the NIGJ team, Adeyemo alleged he was reliably informed that the Board heard the bank was merely given a slap on the wrist by ordering to pay a paltry sum of N3, 743,098.01.
According to the petitioner, “behind our back, the Board forwarded another demand letter dated 02/07/2018 to the First City Monument Bank Plc. for a revised but lower N3,743,098.01 sum, which we understand has been paid by the bank in full and final settlement per Pedabo’s letter dated 01/11/2018.” By this, the EFCC was told, “Niger State Government fraudulently lost N231, 085,170.30 IGR revenue to First City Monument Bank Plc. through unholy collusion and gang-up there with unknown and faceless Consultants who incidentally were suspected to have relied on our documents earlier submitted to the Board.” The petitioner also included a compact disk (CD) detailing all completed jobs in intellectual properties as so far executed by the consultant for the Niger State Government enabling it to demand for an additional but unpaid N732,143,601.52 commission sum.
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