Earlier today, February 25, the news made the rounds that a commercial bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) reported a customer, Ojo Temitope Francis, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for lodging $54,000 in the domiciliary account of his firm, Asej Global Services.
In fact, the fund had become a subject of litigation, with the anti-graft agency praying Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos to order the permanent forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government, arguing that it was a proceed of crime.
The bank was said to have flagged the account after it was discovered that the accused was involved with a “known fraudster” in the United States, Mr. George Edward Cook.
On October 18, 2019, the anti-graft commission arrested billionaire social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha aka Mompha and his Lebanese associate, Hamza Koudeih, days later over suspected internet fraud.
Mompha allegedly laundered N14 billion through 51 bank accounts while Koudeih allegedly laundered N19 billion. Reports said the duo’s activities got to the knowledge of EFCC after some of the banks where the accounts were domiciled reported to the anti-graft commission.
While a host of Nigerians have hailed these disclosures through the banks as a victory for the EFCC and the nation’s bid to combat money laundering, internet fraud and other financial crimes, many more are sceptical that the banks only focus on internet fraudsters while turning a blind eye to the billions of naira kept in these banks’ custody by corrupt politicians, their family members and cronies.
On February 8, the EFCC announced that it was investigating how former Abia State Governor, Sen. Theodore Orji and his son, Chinedu, allegedly diverted N551 billion from the state’s coffers.
According to a petition made available to the media, the Orjis allegedly diverted N383 billion revenue from federal accounts, N55 billion excess crude revenue, N2.3 billion Sure P funds and N1.8 billion ecological funds.
Other monies allegedly diverted are N10.5 billion loan from First Bank Plc through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs, N4 billion loan from Diamond Bank, N12 billion Paris Club refund, N2 billion agricultural loan for farmers and N55 billion ASOPADEC funds.
Theodore Orji and son allegedly operated 151 bank accounts where these funds were kept.
The EFCC said it discovered about 100 accounts in different banks, with over 80 percent of the accounts still very active. The accounts, which were both corporate and individual, allegedly received so much deposit in cash without evidence of the job or services rendered.
Some of the banks were the monies were allegedly kept included Guaranty Trust Bank, First Bank of Nigeria and Keystone Bank.
According to Thisday, some of the accounts include: Fotoworld Industry Limited, with GTB account number 2022025805 traced to Chinedum.
“The company received deposit of $20, 849, 044.21. The same company with another account number 2022025764 in First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) received a cumulative deposit of N362, 573, 056.50.
“Fotoworld has several other accounts with FBN. The accounts and deposits are: 2026144229, $84, 000 cash deposit between 2014 and 2015; between 2012 and 2015, account number 2022025764 housed N342, 573, 056.50; Account number 2022025939 between November 2012 and July 2015 received a deposit of 1, 689, 320.89 Pounds Sterling.
“The EFCC probe showed that the GTB account 0039060117 of the same company housed N88, 300, 000 billion between February 2009 and July 2014,” the report read in part.
It took a petition from a group, Fight Corruption: Save Nigeria Group to bring the matter to the EFCC’s attention while the banks where the alleged funds were supposedly warehoused conveniently forget the anti-graft commission’s phone numbers, email boxes, and contact addresses.
Some Nigerians, who took to social media to call out the banks over the hypocrisy, said:
Why does this kind of reports not applicable to those Fraudulent Politicians who have milked our Country Dry?
Useless And Selective Corruption Fight
— Amotekun Has Come To Stay (@Effavirenz) February 25, 2020
@MyFCMB how many politicians you don report ? I’m closing my account, fools
— Ifeanyi Jnr. (@The_Vined) February 25, 2020
that's wrong, infringement of contract agree. but they will mute if it was a politician who remitted
— William Omoye (@omowillie) February 25, 2020
So why haven’t they report all our politicians who keep Billions of Naira in there bank
— Tayo Akinyemi (@akinyemitayor) February 25, 2020
@MyFCMB when are you going to start reporting politicians that deposit huge amounts….abi those ones are out of reach?
— Boluwaji (@Taichimastar) February 25, 2020
Why didn't they report Theodore Orji for owning several account with them. Bunch of cowards!
— Alex Augustine (@Slinerich) February 25, 2020
@MyFCMB I don't support fraud whatsoever but I think you guys should be able to report corrupt politicians and govt officials to EFCC. Stop being biased politicians and govt officials keeps billions in Nigerian banks all the time and we won't see this energy displayed
— Taiwo Keji Adewale (@emperorkeji) February 25, 2020
Did you also report Orji Chinedum’s FCMB personal account – N384.9million?
— Arc. Olaleye (PhD) (@Fran_Zola) February 25, 2020
|Re: FCMB Reports Man To EFCC After $54,000 Deposit by egoldman(m): 2:12pm|
Please go sit down jare, which politician in Nigeria has a bank balance that corresponds with his known source of income? Have FCMB reported them to EFCC?
|Re: FCMB Reports Man To EFCC After $54,000 Deposit by bigass123(m): 12:22pm|
Question is why don’t they report the illegal transactions done by politicians?