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Banks Face Probe For Withholding Dead Customers’ N100b

Written By Joseph Y. Musa on Wednesday, May 01, 2013 | 5/01/2013 09:34:00 am

The House of Representatives said on Tuesday that an estimated N100bn belonging to dead customers was being held by banks in the country.

It alleged that the banks had made access to such funds by the survivors of deceased customers impossible by giving all manner of excuses just to frustrate them.
In a resolution during its sitting in Abuja, the House directed its Joint Committee on Judiciary and Justice to investigate the matter within two weeks and produce a report.
The House passed the resolution on a motion sponsored by Mr. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun.
The lawmaker told the House that named beneficiaries of such funds were usually made to face hardship in the hands of the bank officials in their bid to get the money.
Abudu-Balogun said the N100bn was the official figure, adding that unofficial sources put the actual figure at between N400bn and N1n.
For instance, he said for a beneficiary to obtain a letter of administration could take up to a year after the death of a customer.
He said, “While the banks continue to trade with the money, beneficiaries of the deceased persons’ accounts are living in penury and unable to feed. Anytime the beneficiaries show up to access the funds as the next of kin to the deceased, the banks usually place official and unofficial hurdles to frustrate them.
“The process of obtaining letters of administration by such bereaved families at probate divisions of state and federal High Courts is very cumbersome and corruption-ridden, thereby adding to the frustration of the already traumatised beneficiaries.”
He added that the families of those contributing to Contributory Pension Scheme also faced the same trauma.
“This inability to access the funds of deceased breadwinners is discouraging people from saving with the banks and may lead to the collapse of the savings culture in Nigeria,” the lawmaker added.
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