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We Can Bite, Not Just Bark….Reps Adhoc Committee Tells Non-Compliant Banks

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Members of the House of Representatives Adhoc committee investigating the recovery and application of recovered looted funds, August, 27, 2023, has unanimously condemned the refusal of banks and other agencies invited by the Committee to comply with the committee instructions.

The anger of the committee was demonstrated by its blatant refusal to entertain any of the banks that attended the proceeding on representative capacities.

These are First Bank, Zenith Bank, Wema Bank, UBA and Union Bank, while NDLEA and Polaris Bank met the required personnel of individuals requested by the committee.

In one motion after the other, members condemned the refusal of the banks to obey their instructions, threatening actions if such conducts persist. In order to underscore the seriousness of their actions, the committee resolved not to attend to those who responded on representative capacities, instead requested that they should return and come back with their chief executives, Thursday, August 31,2023.

The chairman of the commmittee, Hon. Alozie Munachim, representing Obingwa/ Ugwunagbo/Osisioma federaal constituency of Abia state, was livid with anger when he told the non-compliant banks that they are under estimating the significance of the assignment of the committee by not responding appropriately to its instructions.

He never minced words in telling them that the precarious situation of the nation’s economy necessitated the need to find avenues of revamping the economy, saying, “the work of this committee is part of such efforts of the government at resolving the nation’s economic challenges.” Their non cooperation with the committee, he said, is not only a slight on the committee but a deliberate attempt to frustrate its success and slow down the effort of government in resetting the nation’s economy, Alozie posited.

 

Restating the position of the committee further, the chairman repeated that the directives of the committee in letters sent to the banks and agencies, were simple and straight. The invitation letters, he stated, “are that the chief Executive officers or managing directors of such institutions not its representatives, should appear in person, before the committee to respond to some critical questions relating to the applications of the recovered funds in their possession.”

Unfortunately, almost all the agencies, except Polaries Bank and National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, responded to the invitations with individuals who are not the chief executives or managing directors of their agencies. The chairman described such conduct as unacceptable to the committee stating that the committee friendly approach should not be taken for granted.

Explaining further, he said, the reason the committee wants a person at the level of chief executive or managing director is to have such individual who can speak or take decision on behalf of the board explain issues to the committee.

Hon. Gwacham Maureen Chinwe, representing Oyi/Ayamelum federal constituency of Anambra State, in her motion, not to entertain the bank representatives, described the attitude of the invited banks which sent representatives rather than their chief executives as snubbing to the committee, saying “the representatives are not supposed to be with us in the first place because the invitation letter did not invite them but their bosses.”

Begging the agencies to help the committee forge a better society, Hon Chinwe re-echoed the earlier position of the chairman that the friendly disposition of the committee should not be taken for granted but warned that the banks should not as well provoke the committee to be confrontational.

While the banks which sent only their representatives were asked to come back with their chief executives, the committee resolved to write a second letter of invitation to those which did not even respond either by sending representatives or their directors.

They listed such banks to include Access bank, GTB, Fidelity Bank, Heritage Bank, Stanbic Bank, Keystone Bank and FCMB.

The committee had resolved in its previous sitting that the power of the House of Representatives which is applicable to the committee will be invoked if after a third attempt the agencies still fail to honour the invitation of the committee.

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