- Says we’ve no cloned account
The Nigerian Ports Authority has denied operating an account with Unity Bank, putting a lie to a report by a whistle-blower that it hid $1bn in such account.
NPA revealed to Financial Street that it was aware of media reports based on a petition by one Mr. John Okpurhe to President Muhammadu Buhari, where the petitioner accused the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, of refusing to reward him after he exposed over $1bn allegedly hidden in an account operated by the agency.
Okpurhe, claiming to be a whistle-blower, had cited an account number 0013680344 allegedly operated by NPA, but the NPA said the account did not exist as evidenced by a letter from Unity Bank.
“The NPA operates an account with Unity Bank Plc with account number 0013670344 with $1,057,772.03 as at December 4, 2019 and not $1,034,515,000 as alleged by the petitioner,”the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications of NPA, Jatto Adams, stated.
However, the ports authority said the account had not been in operation since August 27, 2010 due to a Suit No: FHC/L/CS/582/2010 Garnishee Order – Nisi in Aminu Ibrahim & Co &Anor. Vs. Nigerian Ports Authority where a garnishee order was placed on it following a case, which went from the Federal High Court to the Supreme Court over a period of eight years.
“Upon the determination of the case at the Supreme Court, the judgment creditors continued with the garnishee process, which resulted in the credit of $1,057,772.03 in favour of suit no: FHC/L/CS/582/2010 Garnishee Order Nisi –Aminu Ibrahim & Co &Anor. Vs. Nigerian Ports Authority on December 4, 2019 in line with the Garnishee Order Absolute.
“It is, therefore, obvious that there is no cloned account as speculated in the alleged whistle-blowing effort of Mr. Okpurhe,” NPA stated.
According to the authority, the account under discussion was frozen on the strength of a court order in August 2010, following the completion of the case, and the money was consequently transferred to the judgment creditor on December 4, 2019 in line with the Garnishee Order Absolute.
Malami, on Monday, said whistle-blowers were paid only after successful recovery of illegitimate funds and not for mere tracing or exposure of the suspected stolen funds.
He made the clarification in a statement against the backdrop of a story published by The Punch newspaper on a pretext of a letter allegedly by one AliyuLemuon June 22, 2020, on issues revolving around payment of a whistle-blower’s fees.
“The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice wants to make it categorically clear that one does not get payment on account of exposing looted assets, but on successful recovery and lodgement of same into the designated assets recovery account at the Central Bank of Nigeria,” Malami stated.