Bankers Warehouse Limited has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to apologise and return the $2.8m seized from two of its staff at Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu on 20 December.
The company which said it is licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to carry out Cash/Asset movement and Currency Processing said the men arrested were not involved in any money laundering and were carrying out a legitimate movement of cash.
Here is the statement by the company’s management:
On Thursday evening, December 20, 2018, while providing a legitimate Currency movement service for one of our Bank clients from their branch at Onitsha to their branch at Lagos, our Couriers were stopped at the Enugu airport, detained and interrogated by agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), despite providing their identification details.
The documents provided also included a covering note from the bank, authorising the team to move the consignment; which is the standard practice.
We hereby state emphatically that the movement of this currency was a legitimate exercise, being carried out on behalf of a legitimate Financial Institution.
We emphasize that our employees are in no way criminals, carrying out any act of illegality as the EFCC has tried to portray. The young men whose character and reputation have been deliberately soiled by the EFCC operatives were conducting their legitimate duties as requested by a bank customer of our company.
We request for the swift and immediate release of our employees and our customer’s currency, both detained without proper cause.
We also demand an immediate retraction by the EFCC and an apology issued to our company and our employees whose images have been maligned.
Our client who has been unfairly exposed and accused of implied illegality, and whose money is still being improperly held by the EFCC operatives, deserve a very special apology for the disclosure of their business and damage done to their image.”
However, the EFCC said it is investigating the company’s claim.
Acting Spokesman, Mr Tony Orilade, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday.
“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 another bank when they were caught.
Orilade said the bank refused to honour EFFC’s invitation from the time of the arrest until the commission “had to go out with the story”.
“That was when they suddenly realised they need to honour the invitation.
“The two men arrested with the money were detained because they have to offer relevant information.
“Be that as it may, thorough investigation has to be carried out as to the source and legitimacy of the money because we are not unaware that some financial institutions have yielded to being used to launder money.
“The way forward is that investigation is ongoing.
“Further investigation will reveal the next line of action,” Orilade said.