PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan said on Sunday that he has issued marching orders to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to begin a probe into the alleged disturbing activities at the country’s embassy accounts in the United States.
President Jonathan made the disclosure while speaking on a media chat broadcast from the State House in Abuja on Sunday night, to underscore his commitment to strengthening the media in building the country’s democracy.
According to the president, he attaches all seriousness to the facts of allegations contained in the country’s press. Sharpedgenews.com
had published allegations of the closure of the country’s embassy account(s) by some US Banks. It has however turned out that only one of the three banks which had allegedly frozen then embassy's accounts is owning up to the development. An official of Wells Fargo also told sharpedgenews.com’s
investigative reporters that the embassy does not operate an account with it. The newshounds also discovered that no foreign embassy is allowed to operate more than one bank account.
It is therefore likely that when EFCC detectives arrive the United States on their investigative mission, they may not find any untoward dealings on the part of the embassy officials, given that sharpedgenews.com
is also learning that the account which was closed down by M&T Bank was not as a result of any alleged money laundering suspicions.
“The account was closed down because the non-presence of a branch operator of the bank in Nigeria made it difficult for its Maryland office to handle the large volume of transactions that the embassy needs from time to time. It is more of a compliance issue with the Patriot Act provisions and not laundering activities,” sharpedgenews.com
Sharpedgenews.com was also told that the embassy decided to close the affected account after M&T Bank had politely requested its closure. The embassy thereafter was said to have received a check for the balance of its monies at the bank.
“If the account had been frozen for illegal transactions as alleged in earlier reports, there wouldn’t be a smooth refund of the balance,” said an M&T Bank official who preferred to be anonymous, as he was not authorized to speak on the issue.
The check that was returned to the embassy, sharpedgenews,com gathered through embassy sources, was later deposited with Citi Bank, who has since confirmed with branch operations in Nigeria.
Sharpedgenews.com also learned that Citi Bank initially wanted to turn down the request of the embassy to open the new account “because the volume of transactions would exact additional pressure on the personnel of the bank.
It was further learnt that officials of the administration in Nigeria had to evoke a desire to reciprocate the raw deal that Citi Bank wanted to dish out by “threatening to withdraw the crude oil account” before the matter was resolved and an account has now been opened for the embassy.
Ambassador Anthony Adefuye confirmed the revelation made by the president on the impending visit of the EFCC officials on Sunday. The ambassador said he was confident that due diligence was followed in the embassy operations.
“The accountant-general of the federation duly approved the transactions,” he stated.