Union Bank had in its tweets posted on its official Twitter page explained that the “movement of cash across states is routine for all banks.
Union Bank Plc yesterday said that the $2.8 million intercepted by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu on Friday is its money.
The acting Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr Tony Orilade, had in a statement on Friday said that operatives of the Enugu zonal office of the commission apprehended Messrs Ighoh Augustine and Ezekwe Emmanuel at the airport, saying that the duo were suspected to be money launderers.
The two men were apprehended at the departure lounge of the airport about to board an Arik Air evening flight to Lagos with two suitcases containing $1.4 million each.
But an official of Union Bank who craved anonymity confirmed to Sunday Sun last night that the two men were on a legitimate assignment.
The source said that banks have the right to move cash, saying that the two men caught by the EFCC are officials of the Bankers Warehouse authorized by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to carry such amount of money and cash for the banks.
Union Bank had in its tweets posted on its official Twitter page explained that the “movement of cash across states is routine for all banks. Bankers Warehouse is licensed by CBN to provide Cash-in-Transit services.
“We are surprised by the release of a news bulletin prior to the completion of @officialefcc investigation. This is a legitimate and routine operation consistent with banking.”
Similarly, the Bankers Warehouse in a letter addressed to the CBN Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ijebor, said that the EFCC insisted on detaining its employees despite the fact that they provided genuine means of identification.
“Despite the information provided, the EFCC insisted on detaining our employees, taking possession of our goods and threatening to confiscate the currency, without making themselves available to our senior managers or other agencies familiar with our movements. We seek your intervention as our regulator to address this issue of constant harassment of our staff by security agencies,” its letter read in part.
When contacted, the acting spokesman of EFCC, Mr Orilade said: “Union Bank saga, the way forward is that investigation is ongoing.
“On the detention of their staff and threat to confiscate the money, this is neither here nor there. The two men arrested with the money were detained because they have to offer relevant information.
“The bank refused to honour invitation from the time of the arrest until we had to go out with the story. That was when they suddenly realised they need to honour the invitation. Be that as it may, thorough investigation has to be carried out as to the source and legitimacy of the money because we are not unaware that some financial institutions have yielded to being used to launder money.”