The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has fined First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) and United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc the sum of N4.819 billion for failing to comply fully with the federal government’s directive on the treasury single account (TSA).
A circular obtained from banking industry sources, revealed that FirstBank was fined N1,877,409,905.12 while UBA was fined N2,942,189,651.45.
According to ThisDay newspaper, an industry source explained that FirstBank concealed N37,548,198,102.41 belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) instead of remitting it to the TSA as directed. On the other hand, UBA concealed N58,843,793,029.05 of NNPC funds, which attracted the penalty.
The source explained that the penalty was the equivalent of five per cent of the funds they failed to remit respectively.
“The accounts of both banks with the CBN have been debited for the unremitted amounts and the penalties,” she added.
At the last Bankers’ Committee meeting held in Lagos early this month, CBN officials had impressed on the banks the need to comply with the directive, saying that it had it on good authority that some banks were colluding with some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to conceal their funds.
In response, the bank chief executives said that they had a directive from the Accountant-General of the Federation to a Director in the CBN exempting some MDAs from transferring their funds to the TSA.
An executive of FirstBank informed ThisDay last week that there must have been some kind of “miscommunication” that led to the non-transfer of the NNPC funds.
He explained that when the confusion arose from the circular from the Accountant-General, CBN had itself directed that NNPC’s funds should be retained with the banks for 18 days, pending the resolution of the matter.
“The 18 days only expired last week, so we do not see how we failed to comply with the directive or attempted to conceal the funds. This is most unfortunate and occurred due to miscommunication from the Accountant-General and the regulator,” he said.