The Presidency has lambasted the global banking giant, HSBC, describing it as one of the conspirators against Nigeria’s economic growth through its support for the looting of the national treasury.
HSBC recently predicted that a second term for President Muhammadu Buhari could affect the economic growth of Nigeria negatively.
However, in a statement issued by the president’s media aide, Garba Shehu, the Presidency said the bank that soiled its hand with ‘‘millions of US dollars yet-to-be-recovered Abacha loot’’ and continued until a few months ago to shield the stolen funds of one of the leaders of the Nigerian Senate had no moral right whatsoever to project that a “second term for Mr. Buhari raises the risk of limited economic progress and further fiscal deterioration.”
The Presidency stated that rather, the bank should heed President Buhari’s constant refrain: return our stolen assets, then see how well we will do.
The Presidency said from the facts available after investigation, HSBC’s put down on President Buhari was no more than an expression of frustration over the administration’s measures put in place which had abolished grand corruption, the type which the bank thrived on in many countries.
It said the bank might also just be out to discredit the President out of the fear of sanctions and fines following the national assets that were stolen.
“With the coming of President Buhari, it is not a secret that corruption, corrupt individuals, banks and other corporate entities that aided corrupt practices are under investigation for various offenses.
“For many of them, including their friends in the media, they would rather have President Buhari out of their way, for business as usual to return.
“Our investigation agencies believe that HSBC had laundered more than USD 100,000,000 for the late General Sani Abacha in Jersey, Paris, London and Geneva.
“Among these accounts on the records are: AC: S-104460 HSBC Fund Admin Ltd. Jersey ($12,000,000); AC 37060762 HSBC Life (Europe), U.K ($20,000,000) and AC: 38175076 HSBC Bank Plc. U.K ($1,600,000),” said the Presidency.
It also alleged that the bank was suspected in the laundering of proceeds of corruption involving more than 50 other Nigerians, including a serving senator.
“In a book, ‘Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation,’ published in 2017, Jack Bernstein told the story of global money laundering highlighting the unenviable place of the HSBC.
“This is a bank that states and federal authorities in the U.S. forced to pay $1.92 billion to settle charges of money laundering; fined $1.2 billion in Hong Kong for ‘systemic deficiencies’ in bond sales and was made to pay $100 million in currency rigging settlement as reported by The Telegraph of 18th January, 2018,” the Presidency further declared.