By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Good Governance and Accountability Monitors Group has called for the arrest and prosecution of the Chairman of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Ladi Balogun.
The group in a statement issued Tuesday in Abuja by its Coordinator, Opeolumi Adeniyi and Secretary, Isaiah Moses, alleged that the chairman allowed his bank to be a platform that is used in aiding and abetting corruption especially in our banking sector.
The group’s demand was necessitated by revelations in the ongoing investigation of the embattled former anti corruption czar, Ibrahim Magu of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), where the bank was caught in the middle of shoddy transaction.
The Executive officer of the First City Monument Bank, Ahmed Nuru, during his appearance before the Justice Ayo Salami Presidential panel, said his bank ‘mistakenly paid the sum of #473m into the account of pastor Omale’.
The group said the fact that somebody of the position of Ibrahim Magu, who before his disgraceful fall, was head of the nation’s anti-corruption agency can be found wanting for financial malfeasance, speaks volumes.
“As Nigerians and stakeholders in the drive to rescue our beloved country from the precipice it is being pushed into, we are worried that Mr. Ladi Balogun would shamelessly and without considerations to the fight against corruption, expose the FCMB to such ridicule and then claim that his bank mistakenly credited an account with such humungous amount of money and, only realized after four years that such an amount was paid into the wrong account.
“We are therefore, compelled to demand from the Nigerian Government; especially the Presidency that it compels Mr. Ahmed Nuru that he provides answers to these questions.
“Who provided the account details that the said #573m (five hundred and seventy three million) was paid into and, who approved the transaction?
“Who was the officer that verified the account?
“Is Ladi Balogun telling Nigerians that his bank did not carry out internal and external audit of its accounts and banks since 2016?
“Why did it take Ladi Balogun and his board, four years to realize that his organization credited a wrong account with such a huge sum?
“Whose bank account was the amount debited and how is it that the owner of the said account failed to notice such a huge withdrawal and transaction?
“Is this not a self-indictment of the management of the capabilities of the Ladi Balogun owned FCMB that it is involved in money laundering and financial crimes?”
The group further called on President Muhammadu Buhari to protect the banking sector by ensuring that funds are protected.
He should immediately direct the EFCC, NFIU, DSS to instigate an immediate probe of Mr. Ahmed Nuru.
“We also call on both Houses of the National Assembly; the Senate and the House of Representatives to immediately, on resumption hold a Public Hearing to look into this criminality against the collective well-being of Nigerians as it affects the sacredness of our financial institutions that have now been turned into a conduit pipe for the laundering of our resources, the Ladi Balogun run FCMB.
“Also, the Minority Leaders in both Houses of the NASS should, as a matter of national emergency, ensure that this financial sleaze by the FCMB, under the eyes of Ladi Balogun is thoroughly investigated and all those involved and found culpable, be prosecuted immediately.”