CBN Orders Bank Workers To Declare Their Assets


IM

The Central Bank of Nigeria has
ordered workers in all the 19
Deposit Money Banks in the
country to declare their assets.
The move analysts say looks like
the Federal Government is beginning to expand its
ongoing anti-corruption crusade
to the private sector, especially
the banking industry.
The directive, which came in a
letter through the Banking Supervision Department of the
CBN to all the 19 commercial
banks in the country about four
weeks ago, gave bank officials
only one week to complete the
assets declaration process, sources close to the DMBs said.
As of Thursday, investigation by
our correspondent revealed that
all the staff members of Ecobank
Nigeria, First City Monument
Bank Limited and Fidelity Bank Plc had complied with the
directive.
Top officials of Ecobank, Fidelity
Bank and FCMB, among others,
confirmed the development. The
workers said there was a directive from their management
asking them to comply within
one week.
Narrating his experience, a top
official of one of the tier-1 banks,
who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not
authorised to speak on the
matter, said, “All our staff
members, from the most junior
to the most senior, were asked
to declare their assets through a court affidavit. It was handled by
the company’s lawyer.
“We were asked to declare all
our assets, including developed
and undeveloped parcels of
land, properties, houses in Nigeria and outside Nigeria etc.
We were asked to also declare
everything, including power
generators at home. We
complied within one week.”
Top bank executives said the move by the apex bank was not
unconnected to the Federal
Government’s plans to extend its
anti-corruption crusade to the
private sector.
It was also gathered that fear had descended on bank
workers, especially top officials
whose assets were beyond their
means.
It was learnt that the fear that
the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the
Independent Corrupt Practices
and Other Related Offences
Commission might soon begin
the examination of the details of
the assets declaration forms vis- à-vis the properties some top
banker own.
Some top bankers, who own
huge assets, it was gathered,
were panicky on how they
would be able to justify the huge assets in their names should the
EFCC and ICPC come knocking
on their doors.
Commenting on the assets
declaration, an executive
director in one of the top three banks, said, “It is part of the
ongoing anti-corruption crusade
in the country. The Federal
Government is trying to deepen
the anti-corruption war in the
private sector, and it is believed that the banking sector is a very
critical sector. This is why the
CBN has been mandated to do
this.”
Unconfirmed sources at the CBN
said the directive followed a letter from the Code of Conduct
Bureau asking the central bank
to direct all bank employees to
declare their assets with
immediate effect.
“The directive is from the Code of Conduct Bureau. It is an extant
rule. Before now, most people
have not been complying. So the
CCB wrote a letter to the CBN
reminding it about it. This is why
the CBN had to write the banks to comply,” a top official of the
apex bank told our
correspondent on condition of
anonymity.
The spokesperson for the CCB,
Mr. Muhammed Idris, did not respond to calls or a text
message sent to his mobile
telephone.
However, independent findings
by our correspondent showed
that the CCB’s scope of operations covers only political
officeholders.
By law, the CCB is mandated to
distribute assets declaration
forms to the general public.
The Acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Isaac
Okoroafor, said the assets
declaration was not a directive of
the apex bank but a statutory
requirement in line with the
Bank Employees’ Declaration of Assets Act of 1986.
Asked why the CBN was
enforcing its compliance at the
moment, he said, “Why not
now?”
The Bank Employees Declaration of Assets Act Cap B1 Laws of the
Federation of Nigeria, 2004
provides for asset declaration by
all bank employees.
The Act also empowers the
President to extend the application of the law to other
categories of persons.