The Senate has summoned the management of a prominent commercial bank, the United Bank for Africa (UBA), for an explanation on alleged illegal withdrawal of N41 billion from the accounts of liquidated Nigerian Telecommunications Limited ( NITEL) and Mobile Telecommunications (MTEL).
The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions made the allegation on the strength of petitions forwarded to it to that effect by J .U Ayogu and Co, on behalf of NITEL/MTEL.
Consequently, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, declared that the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Bank, Kennedy Uzoka, has been summoned to appear before the committee unfailingly on August 5, 2020.
Briefing newsmen on the alleged fraud by UBA against NITEL and MTEL, Akinyelure alleged that UBA made unauthorized withdrawals from the accounts of the liquidated telecommunications companies at four different times which amounted to N41 billion out of the N42billion liquidators deposited there.
According to him, as clearly stated and explained in the petition, UBA withdrew N29billion, N11billion, N6.8million, and N22million at different times between 2006 and 2015 from the accounts without relevant authorizations for that purpose.
He added that liquidators of the firms explained further in the petition that officials of UBA have been hiding under litigated N685million it withdrew from the accounts.
“Being a committee adhering strictly to Senate rules, the litigated N685million is not part of what the UBA is being invited for despite even losing to NITEL liquidators at both the Federal High Court and Appeal Courts.
“The Committee’s right of investigation under section 88 of the 1999 Constitution will be exercised to the fullest on this matter because the owners of the stolen monies by UBA are dying,” he said.
He explained further that UBA promised to provide tickets that they would provide the tickets for the withdrawal of N22.5billion withdrawn from the NITEL accounts without authorisation.
Akinyelure further claimed that a human rights lawyer had sent a petition on behalf of the liquidators and creditors of NITEL and MTEL adding that if the N685m is a subject of litigation, there is a third account meant for taxation and disasters which has N169m. It was also unilaterally withdrawn by the UBA. Seven years after the withdrawal, they’ve not provided the tickets, instead, they were asking the liquidators to get the tickets from the dead liquidators, which is wrong. They had yet to provide the tickets. The committee chairman further said: “In another accounts which had N29bn, UBA also, unilaterally withdrew the money from NITEL accounts without authorization tickets. Most of the creditors of NITEL have sued the liquidators that they’ve collected money from the UBA without paying them.
“The human rights lawyer wrote on behalf of the dying creditors to the Senate for legislative interventions. There is another MTEL account N11bn withdrawn by the UBA and it has not been accounted for till today.
“The creditors don’t have money to go to court because they are already bankrupt. They sued UBA over the N685m and they won at the Federal High Court, Appeal Court and the Supreme Court. Up till today, they didn’t respect the court judgement by not paying the liquidators.”
Akinyelure further stated that when the Senate wrote the UBA management, the Bank said that the matter was in court.
According to him, “the Senate is hereby insisting that the matter is not subjuidice, and we are calling on them to appear before us on August 5, 2020.”
The committee said the Group Managing Director should come and explain how the other funds withdrawn was before the court. They are owing the NITEL and MTEL over N41bn and they should come and explain to Nigerians”.