Keystone Bank clarifies reports on meeting with House of Representatives committee

Keystone Bank has said that reports circulating some online media platforms on its meeting with the House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots Movable and Immovable Assets on Federal Government’s $40 million funds were false.

In a statement on Sunday signed by Michael Agamah, the general counsel and secretary at Keystone Bank said the details of the meeting have been misrepresented in the media, stressing that the sum of money in issue, which came into its position in the normal and ordinary course of business, was not a “recovered loot” but rather belonged to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The statement further clarified that at no time did the representatives of the bank disclose to the committee at the sitting that the bank was coerced by Abubakar Malami, the attorney general of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, to convert the said fund at N305 per dollar.

“Some sections of the online news media, while reporting what transpired at the sitting of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots Movable and Immovable Assets, have unfairly misrepresented Keystone Bank’s disclosures to the committee,” Agamah said.

“While we cannot deny the right of the press to freely disseminate information to the public, we believe that such right should be exercised responsibly and in a manner that does not infringe on the corresponding rights of other members of the public, Agamah further said.

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The bank also stated that the money in issue was not a ‘recovered loot’. “The sum involved belonged to NNPC which came into the position of the bank in the normal and ordinary course of business. The deposit was subject to mutually agreed terms and conditions, which included repayment terms applicable to other deposits of a similar nature.”

The bank’s counsel further disclosed that the exchange rate used at the material time to determine the equivalent of the $40 million was the official rate and that the parties to this transaction were not at liberty to have recourse to parallel market rates, which is what the trending histrionic reporting appears to be suggesting.

“We did not inform the Ad-hoc Committee during our presentation that the Honorable Attorney General of the Federation ‘forced’ us to ‘convert recovered loot at N305 per dollar.”

Such an unduly sensational headline, in our opinion, is a disservice to the profession of journalism, and antithetical to the objectivity and accuracy which responsible reporting is known for,” Agamah said.

He adds, “The processes that culminated in our bank repaying in full, NNPC’s deposits with us are well documented, and based on mutual negotiations between our bank and the owner of the funds.”

The bank reiterates that at no time did they insinuate that the Honorable AGF acted improperly, forced them to transfer, or acted outside the powers of his office.

“Our bank has discharged its obligation to its customer under a regular and validated framework, the same way we honour our obligations to all our customers”, Agamah said.

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