There is confusion over the retrieval of funds belonging to the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, which was erroneously transferred to the Treasury Single Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The money are said to be in the NMNOWTSSA’s account with the United Bank for Africa Plc and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
President Muhammadu Buhari had a few months ago ordered that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies should pay government revenues into the TSA with the CBN. As a result, all commercial banks were mandated to transfer all government revenues in their possession to the CBN.
The Assistant Secretary General, NMNOWTSSA, Mr. John Aleakhue, said the banks had been going back and forth on the issue of the retrieval of the funds for over two months.
He said, “The NMNOWTSSA is not a government body but a trade union. The banks, in their haste to comply with the TSA directive, transferred our funds to the CBN. They should have consulted us if they needed clarification because the account was opened with the union’s certificate.
“This body is the custodian of Nigerian seafarers; so, why should our money be transferred to the CBN? Those of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, and all other registered trade unions were not transferred to the CBN. So, why should it be ours and one of our affiliates?”
Aleakhue added that the association was made aware of the situation when it tried to withdraw money from its account, adding that the banks informed the officials that all Federal Government funds had to be transferred to the CBN.
He accused both banks of being negligent in their duties as the situation had not occurred with other trade unions using other banks.
A letter by the association to UBA dated October 29, 2015 read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to your last email unilaterally transferring our funds to the CBN and advising us to make our presentation to the CBN and the Accountant-General of the Federation for refund of our funds.
“It looks to us that you are under the illusion that this association is not one of the trade unions registered under the Trade Union Act. This singular act has caused untold hardship to our workers since the last transfer to the salary account was not successful.”