As reported by The Nation newspaper, Fidelity Bank PLC has refunded at least NGN 49.7 million it gained as profit from disbursing illegal funds Nnamdi Okonkwo, its CEO received from erstwhile minister of petroleum resources.
The bank had put out an official statement yesterday saying:
“We can confirm that the transactions were duly reported as required by the regulators and the Bank is cooperating fully with the authorities on the investigation.
We assure our numerous stakeholders, including our customers that we are working assiduously towards a quick resolution of the issues.”
Likely Closure or Bigger Trouble?
If this report turns out to be true, the bank has therefore admitted that it did laundered the funds. This an illegal act that contravenes the Central Bank of Nigeria’s anti-money laundering rules.
It is still unclear whether the EFCC will press criminal charges against the bank and or its managing director whom until yesterday was still in the agency’s custody.
The CBN might be preparing its sledge hammer to slam Fidelity Bank with a hefty fine. Criminal charges by the EFCC would send the bank’s CEO in the dock, to avert this, the bank has tough choices to make in the coming days.
The bank would be under pressure to repair its image. Nnamdi might be pressured to resign his appointment and a new CEO will be asked to step in. Similar to the MTN vs NCC saga, the bank might also replaced key executives who participated or have knowledge of the matter.
Shares of Fidelity Bank PLC [FIDELITY:NL] has been on a downward trend for the past one year. Its current share price is NGN 1.2.