The Union Bank PLC, one of Nigeria’s oldest financial institutions, has claimed the ownership of the $2.8m (N1.02bn) seized by the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) at the Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu State.
The cash, according to EFCC was intercepted at the Enugu airport on Friday from two people suspected to be money launderers.
The two suspects, Ighoh Augustine and Ezekwe Emmanuel, were said to be working for Bankers Warehouse.
However, the Union Bank PLC, reacting via Twitter posts strongly denied any wrongdoing and claimed the ownership of the seized funds and criticize the anti-graft office for not finishing investigation prior to announcing to the public.
Some of the tweets read: “Movement of cash across states is routine for all banks;”
“Bankers Warehouse is licensed by CBN to provide Cash-in-Transit services; “We are surprised by the release of a news bulletin prior to the completion of @officialefcc investigation;” “This is a legitimate and routine operation consistent with banking.”
The bank maintained that its action for the movement of the seized cash was a legitimate process which other banks also do to transport cash across states, adding that “the Bankers Warehouse, is licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide Cash-in-Transit services.”
The EFCC had, on Friday, through its Acting Spokesman, Mr Tony Orilade, in a statement in Abuja, announced the arrest of suspects, Ighoh Augustine and Ezekwe Emmanuel, said to be found with $2.8 million cash at Enugu Airport.
He said they were allegedly working Bankers Warehouse and were nabbed based on intelligence tip.
The statement reads: “Upon their arrests, they were caught with consignments of two suitcases, containing $1.4 million each, totalling $2.8 million, at the departure lounge of the airport while about to board an Arik Air evening flight to Lagos.
“During interrogation, the suspects confessed that they have been in the business of conveying cash for ‘some notable banks’ for over six years and were in the process of doing same for Union Bank PLC, located at New Market, Onitsha, Anambra, when they were caught.
“The suspects further confessed that they had so far carried out such assignments four times this year.
“They are presently giving useful information to operatives of the commission, and will be charged to court soon.”