The Managing Director of Polaris Bank, Innocent Ike, has revealed that the bank has refunded $300 million lodged by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in 2012.
Mr Ike made the disclosure before the House of Representatives Ad Hoc committee on assessment and status of all recovered loots from 2002-2020.
He explained that the money deposited with the bank by NNPC was at no time hidden from any government agencies, adding that the money should not be classified as looted fund.
The managing director also explained that part of the strategy adopted in payment of the deposit was to remit it to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, which gave the apex bank instruction to credit the NNPC.
According to him, the NNPC was yet to confirm the receipt of the money paid into the apex bank’s account.
Mr Ike appealed to the NNPC to write and confirm payment, stressing that Polaris Bank had written to the CBN to that effect.
He stressed that the money was always disclosed in writing and never hidden from the public or government agencies.
The managing director also disclosed that the interest of the sum kept with the bank since 2012 was dully paid.
The committee however queried the motive of NNPC keeping the sum with the bank without having an initial account with the bank before the $300 dollars was lodged.
The Chairman of the committee, Adejoro Adeogun, stated that the motive was suspicious, adding that money was also quickly paid to the NNPC when the bank received a letter from it to appear before the committee for explanation.
Mr Adeogun noted that the money spent seven years in the bank without any action, adding that the bank must have thought the money had been forgotten.
“You have about six years when this deposit was in your custody. It is impossible to forget 300 million U.S dollars; were you thinking it is has been forgotten?” he asked.
The chairman accused the bank of exhibiting carelessness when it came to money deposited by the Federal Government.
One of the petitioners, Tosin Ojomo, who appeared before the committee, faulted the managing director’s claim, stating that Polaris Bank was arrested before it confessed that the money was truly in its custody.
The committee then summoned the NNPC and CBN for further clarifications on the status of the money, but ordered the bank to furnish it with documents relating to cash movements in the account from 2012 to 2020.