12th August, 2020
By Kazeem Ugbodaga
First City Monument Bank, FCMB, has debunked reports that the sum of N573 million was mistakenly transferred into the account of Pastor Emmanuel Omale in error.
Pastor Omale is an associate of the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
The Managing Director of FCMB, Adam Nuru, was reported to have said the bank just discovered that N573 million was mistakenly posted into the church account of Pastor Omale while testifying before the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets last Thursday.
The Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) had accused Magu of allegedly using Omale, founder of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, to launder funds abroad.
The committee headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami said the former acting chairman purchased a property worth N573 million in Dubai using Omale’s name — an allegation the pastor denied.
However, FCMB, in a statement issued by its Group Head, Corporate Affairs, Diran Olojo, on Wednesday said the attention of the bank had been drawn to widely circulating stories incorrectly stating that its Managing Director, during a recent presidential hearing in Abuja, testified that the bank mistakenly transferred N573m to the account of a church and that the said error was not discovered for four years.
“We feel it is in the public interest to state emphatically that there was no transfer of N573m into this account, mistakenly or otherwise.
“To provide further clarity, during a maintenance upgrade of our systems in 2016, a defective file led to the aggregation of multiple unrelated entries into a single balance under the affected customer’s name in one of our reports,” it said.
According to the bank, this aggregation occurred only in the weekly automated report to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, saying that it had no effect on any customer’s account balance or statements and therefore was not immediately identified.
“Our Managing Director clarified to the Presidential panel that the system generated report was incorrect and that there was no mistaken transfer of N573 million. He also submitted comprehensive documentary evidence to this effect.
“We appreciate that comments may have been misconstrued and therefore believe it is important to emphatically clarify the position that there was no mistaken transfer whatsoever, as stated above.
“FCMB continues to fully cooperate with the panel, and has been entirely transparent in its reporting. We remain committed to ethical and professional conduct at all times,” the statement said.