Union Bank, on Friday night admitted ownership of the $2.8 million seized by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, on Thursday night.
EFCC spokesperson Tony Orilade said in a statement on Friday that two suspects, Ighoh Augustine and Ezekwe Emmanuel, said to be working for Bankers Warehouse, were arrested as they were about boarding an Arik Air flight to Lagos.
According to EFCC, 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 a Union Bank branch at New Market, Onitsha, Anambra State, when they were caught.”
The two suspects allegedly disclosed that their operation on Thursay was the fourth this year.
But Union Bank denied wrongdoing in moving the cash, saying the practice was standard in the banking industry and its contractors were licenced by the Central Bank of Nigeria to move money around the country.
In a string of tweets directed at the EFCC on Friday night, Union Bank criticised the anti-graft office for being too hasty at disclosing the development to the public, “prior to the completion” of investigation.
Reacting to Union Bank’s ownership claim, the EFCC spokesman, said, “We made serious efforts to get Union Bank officials in Enugu and other parts of the country to confirm details of the money, but there was no one ready to cooperate with us.
“We then decided to count the money before the suspects and took it to the CBN in Enugu where it was deposited and records taken.”
Orilade said as of 4:00 p.m. Friday, Union Bank representatives had not come around to claim the money or ask about their staff members arrested.
“It was after we released a statement to the media that they started calling and making noise,” he said.
Orilade said the agency was unconvinced by Union Bank merely claiming ownership of the money on Twitter.
“Investigation is ongoing, which might prompt prosecution or no prosecution but we would like to let Nigerians know that when we see anything close to infringement of the law, we do not leave anything to chances,” he added.
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