The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating possible lodgement and distribution of the slush political funds distributed by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, in First Bank of Nigeria.
FBN Holdings Plc, the parent and holding company for First Bank of Nigeria and its former subsidiaries, at the weekend confirmed that the EFCC is investigating the bank because of alleged connections to Diezani’s funds.
In a regulatory filing at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) yesterday, the company stated that EFCC has invited an executive director of First Bank, Mr. Dauda Lawal in connection with the Diezani’s funds and he has been cooperating fully with the anti-corruption agency.
EFCC had two weeks ago also visited Access Bank and Sterling Bank in what appeared to be an industry-wide investigation of the use of the banking system to launder and distribute slush political funds. EFCC had earlier arrested the managing director of Fidelity Bank in connection with the ‘Diezani’s funds’.
Both Access Bank and Sterling Bank had clarified that the visits by the EFCC were not connected to the Diezani’s slush political funds or the alleged diversion of arm funds linked to the former National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd), otherwise known as Dasukigate.
In a statement to the NSE, Sterling Bank had affirmed that it did not hold account for “the public officer from the previous administration to which this matter (EFCC’s visit to the bank) has been linked either officially or otherwise”.
Sterling Bank explained that while the reason for the visit by the EFCCwas not immediately clear, it has now been confirmed that the investigation is related to the banking relationship of a non-bank financial institution that is a client of Sterling Bank Plc.
“We affirm for the public records that the bank does not hold the account of the public officer from the previous administration to which this matter has been linked either officially or otherwise; the non-bank financial institution (Asset Management Company) in question purchased a number of loans on a recourse basis from Sterling Bank Plc on commercially acceptable terms and this is the link of the concern raised by the EFCC to Sterling Bank Plc,” Sterling Bank stated.