“If you recall, in 2006, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave out bailout funds to banks to the tune of $7 billion.”
Iheanacho Nwosu and Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Federal Government has launched investigation into the over $7 billion bailout funds given to commercial banks in 2006.
Chairman of Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, who
made the disclosure, said the banks have not paid back the money, a situation, which he said, has caused economic adversity for Nigeria.
He spoke during the public presentation of a report on Malabu Oil deal by a team of foreign experts from Global Witness in collaboration with its Nigerian counterparts, Heda Resources Centre, in Abuja, yesterday.
He maintained that all the banks that benefited from the $7 billion bailout funds would vomit the funds because commercial banks are private concerns.
“If you recall, in 2006, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave out bailout funds to banks to the tune of $7 billion. When we went to the Central Bank of Nigeria to update us whether these banks have paid back, the Central Bank of Nigeria replied that in 2006 the Board of Directors passed a resolution to give out the funds free of charge. You can imagine, giving out public money for free to banks. So, we are going to recover that money. Commercial banks do not belong to Nigerian people; they belong to private persons. We are happy with what Global Witness and the Nigerian partners have done and we are going to investigate and recover them. We will go after their assets and that is the way to fight corruption,” he explained. Apart from banks, the Federal Government is also investigating several oil companies for tax default and other infractions.
“We are dealing with the misbehaviours of oil companies in Nigeria. Mobil is one of them and we are investigating Mobil over the failure to remit over $1.9 billion to the federation account arising from an oil bloc in 2009. The cost of that oil block was about $2.5 billion and Mobil paid only $600 million. So, we want to recover $1.9 billion that is outstanding.
“We are also investigating a lot of oil companies because of their failure to pay tax. A lot of them don’t pay tax. You can imagine how much they are making and a lot of them don’t pay tax. That is a classical example of lawlessness and causing economic adversity in the country,” he said.
In his remarks, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes, Oladele Kayode said Nigeria lost over $10 billion in the OPL 245 oil bloc. To this end, he said the House has vowed that everybody involved in that deal must be punished.
“It is a common knowledge that the entitlement to the Federal Government in the deal was just a signature bonus.The real beneficiary was Malabu Oil. I have the privilege of reading some of the findings and discoveries on the outcome of investigations by oil experts.
They estimated the loss at $6 billion. It is well over $10 billion. So, it will be correct to say that the loss to Nigeria was well over $10 billion,” he said.