The Delta State Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR), has on Tuesday blacklisted two erring banks, Union Bank and Diamond Bank from the list of IGR collecting banks in Delta State for alleged unethical banking procedures.
Joel-Onowakpo Thomas, Executive Chairman of the Board said in his office in Asaba that the action was due to media reports of alleged N1.1billion missing from DBIR accounts.
According to him, an investigation was instituted and the findings implicated the two collecting banks for the State’s internally generated revenue (IGR), adding that “The Delta State Board of Internal Revenue wishes to inform the general public that, the board has black-listed Union bank and Diamond bank as IGR collecting banks for Delta state.
He alleged that the blacklisted banks had failed to remit N1.1billion tax revenue paid into its accounts several days after a multinational oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Limited, paid the money through the servicing banks.
“Hence forth all our accounts in Union bank and Diamond bank are here by closed and all other business transactions terminated.
“We advise tax payers to use any of the board’s numerous accounts in other banks.
“Any tax payer who deals with these two banks, does that at his own risk.”
Joel-Onowakpo Thomas explained that the action became necessary after the two banks deliberately delayed release of fund paid by a tax paying organization. “Our preliminary investigation revealed that the said fund was not only delayed beyond the stipulated time as proscribed by the law, but also fell far below international best practice.”
The Executive Chairman, however said that the DBIR had earlier warned all IGR banks of sanctions, should any bank fail to credit the board’s account in line with the stipulated laws.
He therefore called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to urgently investigate this issue to ascertain whether the conduct of these banks were in line with international best banking practices.
It was revealed that the multinational oil company mandated its bank, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (UBN) and Diamond Bank Plc to credit N1.1 billion into the Delta State Government account through its collecting bank but was shocked that the amount said to have been paid since December 27, 2012 , has not been credited.
Joel-Onowakpo Thomoas, disclosed that while Chevron strongly held to her claims that the money had been successfully transferred into DBIR account, the two banks had also insisted that the fund has not been received, which prompted the two banks to trade blame.
He said at a point, Union Bank acknowledged receiving the money from Chevron and that the said money had been remitted to the state’s Diamond Bank account while Diamond Bank denied receipt of such fund.
“Both banks “played smart” by holding on to the money since December 27, 2012, more than the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stipulated period of time before remitting the fund into Delta State Government‘s coffers on January 7, 2013.
“The actions of both banks constitute lack of transparency in revenue collection. A lot of funds have been lost in the past with such sharp practices.”
“The most worrisome aspect is not keeping the funds but the denial by the two banks that the money was not with them. It is obvious that the banks did not leave up to expectations and both banks are liable. “Having issued out several warnings in the past in respect of this practice of holding on to the board’s money, it is with heart filled with sympathy that we are using the two banks as scapegoats to serve as deterrent to others who are involved in the unwholesome practice.
“If we have to survive in this harsh environment, we have to blacklist the two banks as our revenue collection banks. That means that our accounts with the two banks have been closed with immediate effect,” he stated. Management of Diamond Bank Plc and Union Bank Plc had before now been trading blames over the whereabout of the money.”