Nigeria’s embassy accounts in US, not frozen, says Adefuye
Abuja – Prof. Adebowale Adefuye, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the US has debunked rumours that the embassy’s accounts were frozen by the USA authorities over alleged money laundering.
Adefuye made the denial when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, in Abuja on Tuesday.
The ambassador said the accounts were only closed in line with new regulations on monies coming into the US from abroad.
President Goodluck Jonathan had during a presidential media chat on a national television recently directed the EFCC to investigate accounts of the embassy over the allegation.
Adefuye told the committee that the allegation was false.
He said the embassy had an account with M &T Bank which it operated until March 31, 2012, and denied having other accounts with Wells Fargo and the Bank of America.
The envoy explained that the account with M &T Bank was closed in line with the new banking regulations as contained in USA Patriot Act.
The act is a law meant to fight terrorism and money laundering activities.
Adefuye, who presented documents to support his claims, explained that the closure of accounts had affected other embassies and missions in the US.
“We have nothing to do with the laundering of money on behalf of state governors or other Nigerian public functionaries.
“The leadership of the Nigerian Embassy in the US respected the financial policies of the host country and will never encourage fraudulent activities such as corruption and money laundering”, Adefuye said.
The envoy said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had intervened by requesting Citibank to offer necessary banking services needed by the embassy.
He thanked the Committee for its thoroughness, assuring that the embassy’s account “is clean and safe with Citibank”.
In her response, Chairman of the committee, Rep. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, said the invitation was to clear the air on the controversies surrounding the embassy’s accounts following petitions from Nigerians from within and outside the country.
She therefore said the hearing was to uncover the truth and not to witch-hunt anybody.
Elendu-Ukeje said that the committee would study the documents submitted by the ambassador and other relevant information from other stakeholders before taking a decision. (NAN)