CBN Undertakes Special Examination and Investigation of Banks

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  • Assures public of financial system stability
  • EFCC arrests A’Ibom ex-Milad for collecting N450m from Fidelity Bank

Obinna Chima in Lagos and James Emejo in Abuja

Against the backdrop of ongoing investigations of specific financial transactions in the banking system by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) monday said it was fully aware and also a part of the ongoing investigations of certain financial transactions in some banks by the law enforcement agencies.

The central bank also assured members of the public of the safety of the banking system, adding that it would not allow the banking system to be used as a conduit for any illicit transactions.

The CBN said this in a statement signed by its acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor. It said it was also carrying out its own special examination and investigation to ascertain the veracity of certain allegations as well as the extent and persons who may have been involved in such activities.

In the past few days, there have been reports of interrogations and arrests of some top bank chiefs by the EFCC over alleged disbursements of funds received from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build up to the 2015 presidential election that was lost by former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

Also, some officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were also said to have been arrested in connection with the funds said to have been routed through the banks to electoral officials in some states.
The CBN in the statement yesterday said: “The Central Bank of Nigeria wishes to inform all customers of deposit money banks, other stakeholders and the public that it is fully aware and indeed a part of the ongoing investigation of certain financial transactions in some banks by law enforcement authorities.

“The CBN is also carrying out its own special examination and investigations to ascertain the veracity of some of the allegations as well as the extent and persons that may be involved in such activities.

“The bank would like to reiterate that the financial system stability remains a priority and therefore assures customers and stakeholders that it would not allow the banking system to be used as a conduit for any illicit transactions.

“Some of these investigations are routine and only relate to isolated transactions, therefore it is important to state that the safety and soundness of the Nigerian banking industry remain strong.”
Under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) and Money Laundering Act, banks are mandated to report unusual transactions to the CBN and EFCC.

Meanwhile, a former Military Administrator of Akwa Ibom State and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), has been arrested by operatives of the EFCC for collecting N450,000,000 from the $115million allegedly deposited by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke with Fidelity Bank, Plc.

He was arrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State monday.
Nkanga was alleged to have collected the money in two tranches from a staff of Fidelity Bank in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Saint- Anthony Ejiowu.

The first tranche amounting to N350,000,000 was collected on March 27, 2015 while the second tranche of N100,000,000 was collected on March 31, 2015. Nkanga signed for the two tranches.
A source with the commission confirmed he was in the custody of the EFCC and would be charged to court soon.