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Controversies Over $10m, N1.360bn Deposit Recovered For NEXIM

 

Controversies Over $10m, N1.360bn Deposit Recovered For NEXIM
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There is suspicion that the sum of $10,180,583.10 and N1,360,736,865 recovered by investigators for the Nigerian Export-Import Bank have been misappropriated.

The reported sum, Naija News understands were respectively recovered from Heritage Bank in 2019.

A report by the disbanded Special Presidential Investigative Panel on the Recovery of Public Property had shown that the $10m was part of the $20m illegally placed in fixed deposit by the management of NEXIM Bank.

While it also noted that the N1.360bn was a refund from Heritage Bank on behalf of Paytech Technology Limited, which the bank had provided crystallised bank guarantee on a loan it took from NEXIM Bank.

Paytech however, is said to have failed to pay back the loan until the SPIP pressured the bank to settle its indebtedness to NEXIM Bank.

The PUNCH in its recent findings on the development discovered that NEXIM did not account for or acknowledge the recoveries of the funds in its communication with the National Assembly while investigating the status of recovered loot and assets of the Federal Government.

Instead, the financial institution, which was established by Act 38 of 1991 as an export credit agency with a share capital of N50bn, said only N133m was recovered by the bank through the SPIP intervention.

Naija News understands that NEXIM Bank had in a letter addressed to the SPIP on July 29, 2019, acknowledged receipt of the sum of $10m deposit and N1.360bn, being a settlement of the Paytech loan from Heritage Bank.

The acknowledgement was contained in a letter titled, ‘Investigation activities: Re: NEXIM Bank placement’, and signed by the Managing Director, Abba Bello, and addressed to the then SPIP Chairman, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla.

It reads: “Thank you very much for forwarding Heritage Bank’s letter of May 2, 2019, to us. We note its contents and wish to comment as follows:

“Payments: Please find attached a schedule detailing transactions on the account from August 2017 when your office became involved. We confirm receipt of the cumulative sum of $10,180,583.10 from Heritage Bank, $2,889,250.32 of which has been paid after your office interceded.

“We also confirm receipt of the sum of N1,360,736,865:00, being the settlement of the crystallised guarantee to Paytech Technology Limited.”

Speaking in regards to Heritage Bank’s appeal for an extension of payment on its obligation, which was due in May 2019, Bello said his organisation was constrained to consent to the request for an indeterminable period by which the bank must pay.

The NEXIM boss urged the SPIP to request a definite payment date from Heritage Bank, which should not exceed six months from when it first fell due since the expected payment period had elapsed.

“We wish to reiterate that whilst this is pending, interest and penalties, where applicable, shall continue to accrue as agreed in the placement terms and conditions,” the letter stated.

Curiously, the bank failed to mention the sum recovered by the SPIP in its communication with the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on the Assessment and Status of all Recovered Loots, Movable and Immovable Assets from 2002-2020 by agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for effective/efficient management and utilisation, the PUNCH noted.

In a letter to the committee’s clerk dated June 21, 2021, and signed by Bello, the bank stated, “It is worthy of note that there were no seizures of N523m and landed property from NEXIM Bank as claimed or reported by the disbanded SPIP.

“Please note that total recoveries of loans granted by the previous management of the bank through the intervention of the SPIP stands at N133,052,860.35:00. We thank you for your kind support and please accept the assurances of our highest regards.”

When asked about the discrepancies in the recoveries presented to the National Assembly, Bello, who denied acknowledging the said amount, claimed that he could not remember the recovered deposit and loan.

The NEXIM Bank spokesman, Tayo Omidiji, stated in a text message to The PUNCH, “I spoke with the MD (Bello) and he said he never made any statement like that. The statement about the recovery of $10m did not come from NEXIM. He cannot recall mentioning the figures quoted here.”