The Chairman, Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, has insisted that the management of United Bank for Africa (UBA), has explanations to make over alleged withdrawals of N41billion from N42billion NITEL/MTEL Accounts domiciled with it by liquidators of the Telecommunication firms.
However, Akinyelure who had penultimate week, thundered that the UBA Group Managing Director, Kennedy Uzoka must appear before his committee on Wednesday last week over the alleged fraud, toned down his voice in his latest statement on the issue .
It will be recalled that the planned investigation by the Akinyelure led Committee fixed for Wednesday last week, could not hold due to exceptions taken by the Chairman/CEO of UBA, Chief Tony Elumelu to amplified allegations by the Senator against the Bank.
Elumelu had in his reaction to the alleged N41billion scam against UBA, threatened to take up Akinyelure legally if the allegations were not retracted within seven days.
Though Akinyelure had in the just ended week, earlier said he was not perturbed by the threat but in a latest statement personally issued on the contentious issue, he said what the committee wanted from UBA on the alleged N41billion withdrawals, was explanations to that effect .
The somewhat embattled lawmaker in the statement entitled: “Clarification of Allegations of false and malicious publication against Chief Tony Elumelu, Chairman/CEO of UBA Plc” , said his earlier submissions on the matter during media briefing, were not meant to blackmail Elumelu or the Bank but to let the general public know the allegations levelled against the financial institution.
“My action as the Committee Chairman to address the press is to distinguish between two petitions against UBA before it, and not meant to cause malicious damage to the Management of UBA Plc, having invited them for a closed-door meeting twice to resolve the issues amicably without success.
“My media briefing was therefore never intended to blackmail or cause any malicious damage to the reputation of Chairman/CEO of UBA Plc, Chief Tony Elumelu or any of its officials, but our responsibilities to the whole Nigerians as democratically elected representatives of the people in the legislature to fight for their rights where we feel that their rights have been infringed upon”, he said .
He however insisted that the UBA management, seriously needs to appear before the committee to answer to the two petitions filed against them by creditors and liquidators of NITEL and MTEL.
The statement dated 8th August , 2020 reads in part : “My attention as the Chairman of Senate Committee on Ethics. Privileges and Public Petitions has been drawn to several publications on various national dailies and therefore requires me to make the following clarifications to refute the said allegations on the following grounds.
“That there are two separate petitions against UBA before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for consideration in respect of alleged unauthorised withdrawals of N41billion out of N42billion from NITEL and MTEL Accounts .
“The first of such petitions by liquidators of NITEL & MTEL was from Messrs Otunba O. Sonbore against UBA for N685,390.365.25 for refund to Access Bank charges against NITEL and MTEL account in Liquidation.
“This case was brought before the High Court and Appeal Court and judgment was In favour of the Liquidators of NITEL/MTEL, which has however being appealed against by UBA in Supreme Court, the basis upon which the Committee stepped down further hearing on it in line with Senate rules.
“The seond petition against the bank, was referred to the Committee on 1st July, 2020, a petition written by J. U. Ayogu Esq. a Human Right Lawyer on behalf of the Creditors of the Liquidated NITEL and MTEL against the Managing Director at UBA Plc tor deliberate denial of payment of over N41.8billion withdrawn from various accounts of NITEL without provision of tickets for withdrawals as follows:
“N29,882,868,204.17 on NITEL account 1142030000705 was withdrawn without authorization and non-provision of tickets up till now.
“N11.672,467,105.19 withdrawn by UBA Ptc without authorization from account 1003537230 which was the closing balance of the account at Liquidation.
“N169,128,039.24 withdrawn from NITEL Plc account 100729072 without authorization and non provision of tickets up till now.
“N22,948,854.73 also withdrawn without authorization and without provision at tickets up till now.
“N6,866,171.71 transferred to the Office at the Accountant General of the Federation without authorization to be reversed back to account.
“The above transactions were not in anyway being litigated against by the UBA in the Court of law and therefore the Committee only call on UBA Plc Management to come and justify their actions for not providing tickets for unauthorized withdrawals from NITEL/MTEL accounts up till now and secondly to show Court processes it has on any of the above that will convince the Committee not to order for reversal of outstanding amounts back to the Customers account atter seven years till date”.
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