The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, has reacted to claims made by Union bank that the $2.8 million its operatives seized from two men at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu last Friday December 21st, was legitimate and was for a legitimate operation.
Recall that on Friday, EFCC released a statement saying it had seized the money from the men and that a case of money laundering was being suspected.
Union bank in a statement claimed ownership of the funds, adding that moving money in such a manner was not illegal and was a routine.
Also the Bankers Warehouse, a cash-in-transit contractor whose officials were moving the funds on behalf of Union bank, has written a letter to the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN saying that it did nothing illegal and asked the apex bank to compel the EFCC to release the money.
“We want to convey to you that once again, we are facing a challenge with one of the security agencies (this time the EFCC) which detained our couriers while trying to board an Arik Air flight from Enugu to Lagos, conveying currency on behalf of Union Bank. They were transporting US dollars.
When questioned, they presented their identity cards, identifying themselves as Bankers Warehouse employees on official CIT movement and also presented the letter of authority issued by the bank covering the movement.
“Despite this information, the EFCC insisted on detaining our employees, taking possession of our goods and threatening to confiscate the currency without making themselves available to our senior managers or other agencies familiar with our movement.”
Reacting to the position of Union Bank and Bankers Warehouse, the acting Spokesman for the EFCC, said the commission invited officials of the bank to give explanation about the money but they refused to show up. He said investigations were still on and the outcome of the probe would determine the agency’s next line of action.
“On the Union Bank saga, the way forward is that investigation is ongoing. On the detention of their staff and threat to confiscate the money, this is neither here nor there. The two men arrested with the money were detained because they have to offer relevant information.
The bank refused to honour invitation from the time of the arrest until we had to go out with the story. That was when they suddenly realised they need to honour the invitation. Be that as it may, a thorough investigation has to be carried out as to the source and legitimacy of the money because we are not unaware that some financial institutions are being used to launder money.”