Presidential panel to recover $7bn bailout funds from banks

Okoi Obono-Obla, chairman of the special presidential panel for the recovery of public property, says his panel will recover $7 billion bailout funds given to four commercial banks between 2006 and 2008.

Obono-Obla said this on Friday while speaking with journalists in Abuja. He did not mention the names of the banks.

The chairman said the funds must be returned to government coffers because it is not a gift.

He said the money which has not been returned to the government 13 years after, belong to the people of Nigeria.

“We are currently doing a lot of investigations to recover monies that have been taken away from the people of Nigeria,” Obono-Obla said.

“One of them is the almost seven billion dollars bailout fund that the Central Bank of Nigeria granted commercial banks in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

“After 13 years or so, these commercial banks have not returned that money to the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria. When we inquired from the CBN the status of that money, the banks told us that the money was ‘dashed’ (given free) to the commercial banks.”

He said the panel was also working to recover a large piece of land belonging to a parastatal agency under the ministry of agriculture and rural development.

“That land was encroached upon, parcelled out and sold by unpatriotic people. I can assure you that we are going to recover it and prosecute all those who are responsible,” the chairman said.

“We are also investigating and in the process of recovering a lot of landed property belongìng to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in Calabar, Warri, Koko, Sapele and Lagos ports.

“We are equally doing recoveries for the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, and other federal government agencies, across the country.”

He appealed to Nigerians to assist the panel with information that could lead to the recovery of stolen public property.