The controversy surrounding the ownership of $1billion domiciled with Unity Bank Plc continued on Monday as the management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) denied any link with the alleged account.
A whistleblower, John Okpurhe, had in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari accused the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami of refusing to pay him the reward after exposing over $1 billion government money hidden in Unity Bank Plc.
Responding, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice explained that whistleblowers are paid after successful recovery not for mere tracing or exposure of suspected illegitimate funds.
According to the whistleblower, the account was secretly being operated by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to illegally collect revenue from vessels.
But, in a swift reaction on Monday, the management of NPA dissociated itself from anything that has to do with the alleged account.
A press statement issued by Jatto A Adams, General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications, NPA said: “The Management of the Nigerian Ports Authority is aware of media reports based on a petition by one Mr. John Okpurhe to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The petitioner accused the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami(SAN)of allegedly refusing to reward him after exposing over $1bn supposedly hidden in an account with Unity Bank Plc and allegedly operated by the Nigerian Ports Authority.
“The Authority hereby states that allegations that it operates such an account is untrue.
“Mr. Okpurhe, claiming to be a whistleblower cited an account number: 0013680344 allegedly being operated by NPA but this account does not exist as evidenced by a letter from Unity Bank Plc.
“The NPA operates an account with Unity BankPlc with account number: 0013670344 with a total sum of$1,057,772.03 (One Million, Fifty-Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Two Dollars,Three Cents) as of December 4, 2019 and not $1,034,515,000.00(One Billion, Thirty-Four Million, Five Hundred and Fifteen Thousand United State Dollars)as alleged by the petitioner.
“However, the NPA account has not been in operation since August 27, 2010 due to a Suit No: FHC/L/CS/582/2010 GARNISHEE ORDER NISI in AMINU IBRAHIM & CO & ANOR. VS. NIGERIAN PORTS AUTHORITY where a garnishee order was placed on itfollowing a case, which went from the Federal High Court to the Supreme Court over a period ofeight years.
“Upon the determination of the case at the Supreme Court, the judgment creditors continued with the Garnishee process which resulted in the credit of the amount $1,057,772.03 (One Million, Fifty-Seven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Seventy-Two Dollars, Three Cents) in favour of Suit No: FHC/L/CS/582/2010 GARNISHEE ORDER NISI- AMINU IBRAHIM & CO & ANOR. VS. NIGERIAN PORTS AUTHORITY on December 4th 2019 in line with the Garnishee Order absolute.
“It is therefore obvious that there is no cloned account as speculated in the alleged whistle blowing effort of Mr. Okpurhe.
“The account under discussion was frozen on the strength of a court order in August 2010, following the completion of the case, the money was consequently transferred to the judgment creditor on December 4, 2019in line with the Garnishee Order Absolute”.