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US BANKS FREEZES NIGERIAN EMBASSY ACCOUNTS

US Banks freeze Nigeria Embassy accounts over suspicious activities- The accounts of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington DC and the Nigerian Mission in New York might have been frozen by the Bank of America and Wells Fargo, two leading financial institutions in the United States of America over alleged money laundering activities. Sources informed African Examiner that the action of the banks was sequel to a suspicious money transfer remitted to the United States from Nigeria. Following the suspicious transactions in favor of the accounts between February and May this year, the two banks requested the mission to explain the source of the funds which the Mission could not immediately avail the financial institutions. Consequently the sanction had adversely impacted on the finances of the Mission which has made it extremely difficult for the Embassy to pay its operational bills and staff salaries. These monies wired from Nigeria were aside from the regular money that normally comes into the embassy accounts to run its operation and other official activities. Our source said the embassy was unable to provide satisfactory explanation for about $3.6 million that was wired into the accounts prompting the banks to freeze the accounts till further notice. African Examiner also learnt that these monies are allegedly wired into the accounts of the embassy by some
state governors and other government functionaries, and when they arrive in the US, the embassy would make the money available to them. This perhaps helps these officials to beat some security hiccups which may arise at the point of entry into the US if they are to carry the huge amount of money with them. It is not clear whether the two US leading banks have the right to freeze accounts of a diplomatic mission. In view of this development, our source said auditors have been flown in from Nigeria to reconcile the embassy’s books. In his reaction to the issues, Amb. Adefuye, the Nigerian Ambassador to the US told African Examiner that “It is simply false. How can an account that does not exist be frozen? I know that the New York consulate which is part of my mission has no account with these banks.” Meanwhile Wells Fargo spokesperson could not immediately comment on the issue over the weekend but promised to properly look into the matter and get back to us. However, Bank of America spokesperson did not answer our phone calls and has not replied our email as at press time.

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