The Managing Director of Peace Mass transit, Dr Maduka Onyishi, at the weekend displayed a rare feat of honesty, by returning a whopping sum of $7.7 million (₦2.2b) that was wrongly paid into his account by First Bank.
The cheque was received on behalf of First Bank by the Business Manager, Commercial Banking, Mr Kokelu Ben and the Branch Manager, Unity Bank, Enugu Branch, Mrs Ifeoma Eleanya.
Explaining how he discovered the huge sum in his First Bank account, the chairman of Peace Mass Transit said:
“The amount they paid in was ₦3,219,500,000 but my own money there is ₦1,000,000,000 so the balance is not my money. I said that I cannot invest this money and be gaining from another person’s money and I can’t also keep it. I can’t keep $7m Dollars that don’t belong to me.
“I told my bank (First Bank) to pay money into my Unity bank account that I want to take 3 million dollars and they paid ten Million Dollars instead. I called them and informed (First bank) that the amount they paid to me was more than the amount I requested. They told me that ten million Dollars was my money.
“I was angry with them. I asked them how come I have this kind of money and I’m not aware of it. I asked them how come they went ahead to invest my money without telling me so that I can use my money and then I can know how much I have.
“I told them that they have failed to give me a statement of my account even when I have demanded it severally. I discovered later that the amount was even more than what we are talking about because there was another person I asked the bank to pay money to whom they even paid extra.
“I made enquiries and they told me that I should wait until when it is time for banks to do reconciliation, they will discover whether the fault was from First Bank, Central Bank or Unity Bank. I waited for a whole month and no one called me. I told the devil that he is a deceiver and a liar. He knows that I need money now that is why this thing is happening now.
“That’s why I said, let me invite First Bank and Union Bank and also invite journalists. I said let me give the money to First Bank, if they find out that the money is mine, they should return it. If it belongs to Unity Bank or CBN give it to them. If it is your own, keep it. So I am giving this money to you to keep on trust.
He called on the management of CBN, Unity Bank and First Bank to look into the origin of the money as such leakages could come with dire consequences for any commercial institution.
“I had sent emails to the bank to inform them of the wrong payment and they didn’t find anything. My account in First Bank was not debited so they did not see it. Unity Bank did not see anything because they just received the money.
“Nobody knows if the money came through Central Bank because the money came through three organizations before it came to my account in Unity Bank. Why I am doing this is that if it is either First Bank Unity Bank or CBN that has this fault, they should as a matter of urgency block the loophole because this is a sign that people’s money has been missing every day. It can also lead to a total collapse of any bank.
In his response, the business manager, commercial banking, First Bank, Mr Kokelu Ben said that :
“I don’t have any official thing to say but I must state that Dr Onyishi is a man of Integrity. When we look in into the situation we will advise him on what happened and how to remedy this situation.”