*FCMB Clarifies Position on N573 Million Transfer*
Our attention has been drawn to widely circulating stories incorrectly stating that our Managing Director, during a recent presidential hearing in Abuja, testified that the bank mistakenly transferred N573m to the account of a church and the said error was not discovered for 4 years. We feel it is in the public interest to state emphatically that there was no transfer of N573m into this account, mistakenly or otherwise.
To provide further clarity, during a maintenance upgrade of our systems in 2016, a defective file led to the aggregation of multiple unrelated entries into a single balance under the affected customer’s name in one of our reports. This aggregation occurred only in the weekly automated report to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit. It had no effect on any customer account balance or statements and therefore was not immediately identified. Our Managing Director clarified to the Presidential panel that the system generated report was incorrect and that there was no mistaken transfer of N573 million. He also submitted comprehensive documentary evidence to this effect.
We appreciate that comments may have been misconstrued and therefore believe it is important to emphatically clarify the position that there was no mistaken transfer whatsoever, as stated above. FCMB continues to fully cooperate with the panel, and has been entirely transparent in its reporting. We remain committed to ethical and professional conduct at all times.
THE STORY AS REPORTED
The Justice Salami-led panel probing allegations of corruption against suspended Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, was stunned on last Thursday when the Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer of First City Monument Bank FCMB, Adam Nuru, told the panel that there was an error over the reported posting of N573 million into the church account of Emmanuel Omale, founder of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries, Account No 1486743019.
The bank CEO was invited by the panel, following the alleged report that the cleric laundered money for Magu and used the proceeds of the said N573million to purchase property for him in Dubai.
Nuru, while giving evidence on the funds traced to the account, narrated that ” On January 16, 2016, we made a return to NFIU which indicated that there was a transaction of an inflow of well over N573million. (N573,228,40).
“This return was said to be in favour of Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries Account No 1486743019.
“After that report, we conducted an investigation and discovered that the lodgement which we reported to NFIU was an error.
“The error was as a result of the fact that we were using a bank application called Pinnacle-7. However, we migrated from that application to a newer version called Pinnacle-10.
“Usually, when the bank intends to migrate from one application to another, we utilize weekends to carry out the exercise. The migration involves moving all the balances of customers from the previous application to the new application. The account of the Divine Hand Ministries was moved during that migration.
“In that branch, we have 983 accounts (Banex). The credit balance in all the 983 accounts domiciled came to the aforesaid amount. It was that balance of N573million that was wrongly posted as an inflow into Divine Hand Ministries as reported to NFIU.
“ This error was not peculiar to Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries alone but was also ascribed to 27 other accounts.”
When asked why it took the bank about 4 years to discover the error, the CEO responded that the bank just realized the blunder upon invitation by the panel.”
President Buhari had on July ordered a Judicial Commission of Enquiry under the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004), to investigate the alleged financial impropriety and mismanagement of recovered assets leveled against the suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
Recall that Magu was accosted on July 6, 2020 in front of the Wuse office of the EFCC and directed to appear before the Salami- led panel.
The Justice Salami committee had summoned several witnesses to testify against Magu.
The panel headed by Justice Ayo Salami also has Anthony Michael, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police as, Deputy Chairman, Muhammad Babadoko, Member. Other members are Hassan Abdullahi, Muhammad Shamsuddeen, Douglas Egweme, and Kazeem Attitebi, Secretary.