The Presidency on Saturday declared that the major reason the global banking giant, HSBC, predicted doom for Buhari’s second term bid had to do with the fear that it (HSBC) would no longer be able to continue to benefit from corrupt practices in the country.
HSBC had predicted that Buhari’s second term in office would spell doom for the economic prosperity of Nigeria.
But in its reaction, the Presidency, in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said HSBC was not in the right position to make such a prediction as it had been known to be shielding the loot of corrupt Nigerians.
The Presidency said its prediction was borne out of the frustration over the administration’s measures put in place to prohibit grand corruption.
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The government added that the bank was also afraid that the second coming of Buhari might mean sanctions and fines as a result of the nation’s stolen wealth.
The Presidency said contrary to the position of the HSBC, one of the factors that affected the growth of the economy in the past was the unbridled looting of state resources by leaders, the type which was said to be actively supported by HSBC.
The Presidency accused the bank of soiling its hand with ‘‘millions of US dollars yet-to-be-recovered Abacha loot.’’
The practice, it was said, continued until a few months ago whereby the bank shielded the stolen funds of one of the leaders of the Nigerian Senate.
The government said HSBC had no moral right, therefore, whatsoever to project that a “second term for Mr. Buhari raises the risk of limited economic progress and further fiscal deterioration.”
The government said rather, the bank should heed Buhari’s constant refrain that the nation’s stolen assets she be returned for the growth of the country.
“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).
“The bank is also suspected in the laundering of proceeds of corruption involving more than 50 other Nigerians, including a serving Senator as earlier indicated,” the government said.
It added that “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.”