Posted by News Express | 11 October 2021 | 235 times
By IFEDAYO OGUNYEMI
Following the directive by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to bank workers to declare their assets, the Chairman of the agency, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has said that the agency does not intend to witch-hunt anyone.
Rather, Bawa said, the directive will help save the Nigerian banking sector from another crisis by clearing the rots that currently characterise the system.
The commission chairman made this clarification on Monday during the opening session of a workshop organised for law enforcement agencies by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
While speaking in the theme of the event, “Effective Investigation and Prosecution of Banking Malpractices in Nigeria,” Bawa vowed that the commission would not relent in its efforts to sanitise the country’s financial institutions.
The chairman who was represented by the Lagos Zonal Commandant of the commission, Ahmed Muhammad Ghalid, disclosing that the anti-graft agency had prosecuted and secured convictions of serving and retired bank workers.
He also urged bankers and financial institutions to partner with the EFCC to rid it of the “slew of corrupt practices” and other financial crimes in the banking sector.
“I recall that upon assumption of office, one of the major pronouncements I made was giving a directive to bankers to declare their assets before June 1, 2021. I had given the directive genuinely out of the sincerity of purpose, knowing the rots that permeate the nation’s banking sector.
“In other words, the directive was borne out of efforts to sanitise the banking sector. But it was received with mixed feelings. It is obvious that those who kicked (or are still kicking against) the directive are ignorant of the unmistakable details of the Bank Employees Declaration of Assets Act.
“Unlike the claims in some quarters, it is not a witch-hunt; rather, it is part of measures to sanitise the country’s financial institutions. We are aware of the different shades of fraudulent activities going on in our financial institutions, particularly in the banking industry sector.
“In dealing with this situation, the EFCC, under my watch, has intensified its engagement with bank executives, more than ever before. The nation cannot afford to go through another serious crisis in the banking sector, and this explains the constant intervention by the EFCC,” Bawa said.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NDIC, Mr Bello Hassan, said the corporation had commenced the payment of compensations of insured amounts to the customers of 42 banks whose licences were revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in December 2020.
Hassan also said that the Nigerian banking system is safe, sound, and resilient in spite of the overbearing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his opening remarks, Bello said the workshop would give the corporation the opportunity of sharing information and ideas with law enforcement agencies on the developments within the banking sector.
Hassan said: “I’m happy to report that despite the effect of the pandemic, looking at the various financial indicators, the banking system is safe, sound, and resilient.
“For us as supervisors, what we advise the banks is to strengthen their internal control and also make sure that they do proper background checks when they are employing staff so as to ensure that they employ people that are fit and proper to work within the banking system.” (Nigerian Tribune)
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