Reps Committee Demands Audit Of TSA

A House of Representatives ad hoc committee has given the Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayene, a deadline of the first week of November 2017 to conduct an audit of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and submit a report to the committee.

The committee’s directive was given today at an interactive meeting with financial regulatory agencies, banks and stakeholders, which was held in the National Assembly.

The aim of the meeting is to ascertain the proceeds of the TSA and improve the efficiency of the policy for greater accountability and transparency.

The decision of the federal lawmakers to beam a searchlight on how the account is being managed comes nearly two years after the Federal Government fully implemented the TSA.

While several financial institutions honoured the invite by the committee, the representatives of some banks enraged the committee by failing to appear with their Chief Executive Officers.

The committee has invited the bank executives that failed to appear to do so in two weeks.

Court Strikes Out FG’s Suit Against Seven Banks

Alleged N29bn Fraud: Court Admits More Evidence Against Nyako
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The Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has struck out a suit filed by the Federal Government against seven commercial banks.

Justice Chuka Obiozor struck out the suit this morning and awarded a cost of N200,000 against the Federal Government and in favour of all the affected banks except Skye Bank which was not represented in court.

The Federal Government had sued the banks seeking the remittance of $793.2 million allegedly hidden with them in contravention of the Treasury Single Account policy.

Yesterday, counsel for the Federal Government, Professor Yemi Akinseye-George, told the court that the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, asked him to withdraw the suit in the larger interest of the public and because of the economic implications.

The counsel had also disclosed that the Federal Government decided to explore an ‘out-of-court settlement’ with the banks.

Even though the banks did not oppose the notice of discontinuance of the suit, through their lawyers, they had insisted that the Government’s allegation against them was false and had caused substantial damage to their reputation.

They had also urged the judge not to merely strike out the suit but to dismiss it and award a cost of between N10-N20m against the Federal Government.

They argued that any case struck out could be re-filed while a case dismissed could no longer be re-filed.

But in his ruling today, Justice Obiozor held that dismissal of an action is one of the gravest actions a plaintiff can face and so the court must be slow to take that option and only exercise such a discretion judiciously.

Having considered the reasons for the withdrawal of the suit, the court held that since the case had yet to proceed to trial, the proper order to make was to strike it out.

In awarding cost, Justice Obiozor held that the banks had placed no evidence before him to support their claim that the actions of the Federal Government had caused damage to their reputation.

He, therefore, used his discretion to award a cost of N200,000 each.

The court also vacated the interim order made on the 20th of July in favour of the Federal Government directing the banks to temporarily remit the funds to the TSA.

Following the July 20 order, most of the affected banks had issued retractions and disclaimers, insisting that they had no illegal funds in their custody.

 

FG Seeks Out-Of-Court Settlement With Seven Banks Over TSA

Alleged N29bn Fraud: Court Admits More Evidence Against Nyako
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The Federal Government has filed a notice of discontinuance of its suit against seven commercial banks seeking the remittance of the sum of $793.2 million allegedly hidden with them in contravention of the Treasury Single Account policy.

The notice of discontinuance dated the 7th of August was brought pursuant to Order 50 Rule 2 Subsection 1, Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules of 2009.

Counsel to the Federal Government, Professor Yemi Akinseye-George, told Justice Chuka Obiozor that the government is making the move in the public interest as it has decided to explore an ‘out of court settlement’ with the banks.

Lawyers to the banks have no objections to the notice of discontinuance but they insisted that the proper application is for the court to dismiss the suit and award cost against the Federal Government.

Justice Chuka Obiozor has adjourned until tomorrow, Wednesday, August 9 on whether to strike out the suit or to dismiss it.

READ ALSO: TSA: Court Orders Return Of $793.2m Allegedly Hidden In Seven Banks

TSA: Court Orders Return Of $793.2m Hidden In Seven Banks

Alleged N29bn Fraud: Court Admits More Evidence Against Nyako
File photo

The Federal High Court in Lagos has granted an interim order for seven commercial banks in Nigeria to remit a total of $793,200,000, allegedly hidden with them in violation of the Constitution and the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy of the Federal Government.

Presiding Justice Chuka Obiozor on Thursday directed the banks to remit to the designated CBN Asset Recovery Dollars Account, various amounts allegedly kept in their custody illegally.

The interim order was given after the court listened to an ex-parte application filed by counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, Professor Yemi Akinseye-George.

While arguing the application, Professor Akinseye-George said it would best serve the interest of justice for the court to order the banks to remit the funds to the Federal Government to prevent the funds from being diverted, misapplied, stolen or misappropriated.

He also stressed that the withheld funds are urgently required by the Federal Government for executing the 2017 budget.

After listening to him, Justice Obiozor granted the interim orders.

He also directed that the order should be published in a national daily newspaper.

In early August 2015, the Federal Government had directed all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), including to make payments into a Treasury Single Account (TSA).

The government had expressed optimism that the directive would promote transparency and facilitate compliance with Sections 80 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) were also affected by the policy.

Other agencies include the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, (FAAN) and Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) among other government agencies.