By NGIJ team of Oluwasegun Abifarin and Olawale Abideen
The First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and its Shareholders defied the Covid 19 lock down directives last week to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) by proxy.
But while they celebrated its N20.1 billion profit for the 2019 financial year, little did the shareholders know that a petition had surfaced at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This follows investigation instituted by Niger state governor Abubakar Sani-Bello that seemed to have exposed the underbelly of the financial institution.
According to a document received by the Guild, the governor in a letter dated 23 July, 2015 by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, appointed Ori Adeyemo, a Lagos based forensic expert as consultant.
His mandate was to investigate deductions of unremitted 10% Withholding Tax on Credit Interest by some banks operating in the state.
At the end the forensic investigation, the total refundable by FCMB stood at N234, 828,268.31, out of the N4.6 billion due to the state by 12 banks and one Micro Finance institution.
In his petition to the EFCC, obtained by the NIGJ team Adeyemo alleged he was reliably informed that the Board had given the bank a mere slap on the wrist.
This it did by ordering the bank to pay a paltry sum of N3, 743,098.01.
According to the petitioner, “behind our back, the Board forwarded another demand letter dated 2nd July, 2018 to the First City Monument Bank Plc.
This was for a revised but lower sum of N3,743,098.01, which we understand has been paid by the bank in full and final settlement per the letter dated 01/11/2018.” By this, the EFCC was told.
“Niger State Government fraudulently lost N231, 085,170.30 IGR to First City Monument Bank Plc. through unholy collusion and gang-up therewith unknown and faceless ‘consultants’.
“These ‘consultants’ incidentally were suspected to have relied on our documents earlier submitted to the Board.”
The petitioner also included a compact disk with completed jobs so far executed by the consultant for the Niger State Government for which it demanded an additional, but unpaid, N732,143,601.52 commission.