The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC had in a statement Friday evening, announced that it arrested two men who were in a possession of a combined cash of $2.8 million (over N1 billion at N360 a dollar) at Akanu Ibiam International Airport.
The agency said the suspects mentioned their affiliation to Union Bank and Bankers Warehouse, a cash-in-transit contractor.
The anti-graft office said it was investigating the recovery as money laundering.
In a string of tweets directed at the EFCC on Friday night, Union Bank criticised the anti-graft office for being too hasty at disclosing the development to the public, “prior to the completion” of investigation.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt on Saturday from Tony Orilade, a spokesperson for the EFCC, that the money was intercepted at about 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, and it came barely a few weeks after operatives recovered about N940 million from a Lebanese and another $370,000 at Lagos Airport.
Mr Orilade said the EFCC made concerted efforts to get Union Bank to corroborate accounts of the suspects, but was frustrated for nearly 24 hours.
“We made serious efforts to get Union Bank officials in Enugu and other parts of the country to confirm details of the money, but there was no one ready to cooperate with us,” Mr Orilade said. “We then decided to count the money before the suspects and took it to the CBN in Enugu where it was deposited and records taken.”
Mr Orilade said as of 4:00 p.m. Friday, Union Bank representatives had not come around to claim the money or ask about their staff members arrested.
“It was after we released a statement to the media that they started calling and making noise,” the spokesperson said.
It was not immediately learnt whether Union Bank or Bankers Warehouse has reached out to the anti-graft office to sort out the matter.
Mr Orilade said the agency was unconvinced by Union Bank merely claiming ownership of the money on Twitter.
“Investigation is ongoing, which might prompt prosecution or no prosecution,” the EFCC chief said. “But we would like to let Nigerians know that when we see anything close to infringement of the law, we do not leave anything to chances.”