Banks banned from forex deals allege cover-up by CBN – Guardian

Banks accused of not remitting the $2.3 billion belonging to the Federal Government into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) have alleged a cover-up by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

They alleged that the apex bank is shielding some of their peers, which they claim are equally guilty of the same offence.

The affected banks, which have been banned from further foreign exchange transactions, include United Bank for Africa (UBA), $530million; First Bank of Nigeria (FBN), $469million; Diamond Bank Plc, $287million; Sterling Bank Plc, $269million; Skye Bank Plc, $221million; Fidelity Bank, $209million; Keystone Bank, $139million; First City Monument Bank, (FCMB) $125million; and Heritage Bank, $85million.

According to a source from one of the indicted banks, there are at least six others that the authorities are shielding. According to him, those banks were also present when the parties first negotiated the terms of repayment last year and earlier this year.

The source says there is no way banks can have possession of such an amount, no matter who owns the money, and not spend it. “The problem is that the foreign exchange (forex) challenges caught up with it and that is why it is open now.”

The source said that almost all the banks’ chiefs were on their way for an emergency meeting with officials of the CBN.

In its reaction to the ban, UBA stated that it had “completely remitted all NNPC, NLNG dollar deposits.” The bank claimed yesterday that it had been readmitted into the forex market by the CBN following remittance of all NNPC, NLNG dollar deposits.

Diamond Bank Plc, in a message to stakeholders, rationalised the punishment for refusal to remit the government’s fund as industry-wide, while it is currently engaging the regulator to resolve it.

A source from Fidelity Bank said the status of the funds in its possession was well reported to CBN, including the agreed timeline for its remittance to the TSA.