Following reports on Thursday that the Managing Director of a leading Nigerian commercial bank has been detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for allegedly helping former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke to launder $115 million cash, Fidelity Bank has come out to own up.
Fidelity Bank MD, Nnamdi Okonkwo, was taken into EFCC custody three days ago for receiving huge cash and helping to distribute it to beneficiaries two days to the last general elections.
Okonkwo was picked up for failing to report the matter to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, as required by the law.
Reports say Diezani summoned the bank chief to her Abuja home and told him to prepare to receive foreign currency running into billions of Naira from four companies and to convert it to Naira and pay to designated beneficiaries on her behalf.
A day after the instruction from her, four companies stormed the bank with various amounts of cash and were promptly received by the bank.
A breakdown of the funds given by the EFCC shows that Actus Integrated paid in $17,884, Northern Base Gas Company, $60m; Midwestern Oil and Gas, $9.5m; and Laitan Adesanya, $1.35million.
Diezani on her part, allegedly lodged $26 million cash into the same account same day.
It was learnt that shortly after paying in the cash, Diezani’s son, Ugonna, approached the detained MD and furnished him with the list of beneficiaries of the cash as instructed by his mother.
Okonkwo was said to have complained that he would not have enough time to cash in Naira to effect the immediate distribution of the money as instructed by the then minister, she asked him to use every available cash to pay the beneficiaries and use the Dollar as collateral.
Reacting Thursday afternoon via a statement signed by its management, Fidelity Bank Plc said its “attention has been drawn to reports in the media on investigations into transactions undertaken by the Bank in the normal course of business in 2015.”
“The transactions are now the subject matter of investigations by the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“We can confirm that the transactions were duly reported as required by the regulators and the Bank is cooperating fully with the authorities on the investigation.
“We assure our numerous stakeholders, including our customers that we are working assiduously towards a quick resolution of the issues.
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