The House of Representatives’ Ad Hoc Committee on Unclaimed Funds in the Nigerian Commercial Banks and Infractions by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has begun investigation of funds stuck in commercial banks due to the alleged failure to link the account holding the funds to a Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government.
The committee is particularly probing the over 45 million accounts said to be holding funds amounting to over N1.2trillion.
The House had on January 26, 2022, resolved to set up the committee to investigate the “suspicious and unclaimed funds” sitting with various accounts.
The House had mandated the committee to also investigate the unremitted funds collected on behalf of ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government by the banks.
The House had further mandated the committee to look into the alleged “several infractions by the Central Bank of Nigeria against the provisions of the enabling Act and Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the good people of Nigeria, especially in the area of intervention projects and programs.”
The committee is to report back within eight weeks for further legislative action.
These resolutions were based on a motion moved by a member, Dachung Bagos, titled ‘Need to Investigate Unclaimed Funds in Nigerian Commercial Banks and the Infractions by the Central Bank of Nigeria,’ which the lawmakers unanimously adopted.
On Monday, the committee was inaugurated with several invited ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government as well as banks in attendance.
The Chairman of the committee, Unyime Idem, after representatives of the MDAs made their remarks, said, “For commercial banks, this resolution stipulates that you submit documents that would help us recover unclaimed funds in about 45 million accounts that are not linked to the BVN.
“About 45 million accounts are what the House has been able to discover through the recent reports. Those accounts are not linked to BVN. So, money in those accounts, we want to know the positions, whether you have refunded the FG or what happened to the funds. You are going to give us documents to back these investigations.”
According to Idem, the committee’s assignment is “enormous, crucial and sensitive, given what the country is facing economically.”
He said, “We believe that the outcome of it (probe) would help the country to recover a very substantial part of the unclaimed funds that have been hanging in some of the Nigerian commercial banks and other unauthorised hands.”