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Reps drag Polaris Bank over $32m controversial debt payment to NNPC

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Polaris bank debt to NNPC

The House of Representatives, on Thursday threatened to mete severe measures on Polaris Bank over a controversial payment of $32 million dollars debt the lender owes an agency of the federal government.

The threat was made by its ad hoc committee on the assessment and status of all recovered loots (movable and Immovable assets) from 2002 to 2020 by agencies of the Federal Government for effective efficient management and utilisation.

The committee threatened to issue an arrest warrant on the Managing Director of Polaris Bank for failing to appear before it to explain why the bank had not remitted over $32 million owed to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The Chairman of the committee, Adejoro Adeogun, issued the threats at an investigative hearing in Abuja.

The committee, however, turned back all representatives of the banks as well as the Accountant General of the Federation, saying they lacked the capacity to answer the questions from the committee, giving them till Wednesday next week to appear.

Adeogun condemned the attitude of the management of Polaris Bank for not honouring an out-of-court settlement with the NNPC and failing to pay up its debt to the government.

While the bank insisted that it had completed the payment of its debt, the NNPC said it had not received the payment.

The Chief Financial Officer, NNPC, Umar Ajiya, said at the hearing that the NNPC was yet to receive the payment from the CBN, saying “Polaris Bank is still owing us $32 million.”

Responding to a claim by the legal officer who represented the bank, but failed to identify himself, that the bank had tendered evidence of the payment, Adeogun said, “You did not tender any evidence. You wrote a letter saying you directed CBN.

“Directing CBN does not mean CBN has paid the money. You directed CBN to use your reserve and if they make that payment, your reserve will fall below regulatory requirement. So, CBN has ignored your advice and they have not paid.

“That money is supposed to be paid into the federation account to fund the 2022 budget.”

Adeogun therefore gave an ultimatum to the bank to respond in the appropriate way by appearing before the House next week.

“You have between now and Wednesday next week to appear here with evidence of your payment, not instruction to CBN because that is not acceptable. We have to make sure that you pay that $32 million to Nigerians.”

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