Abdulrasheed Bawa, chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), said on Monday that fraudulent activities are taking place in financial institutions across the country, particularly in the banking sector.
Bawa explained that the EFCC’s mandate that bankers register their assets was not intended to persecute them, but rather to safeguard Nigeria from a major banking catastrophe.
According to him, the EFCC and other stakeholders must clean up the banking industry to free it of rots and fraudulent activities, claiming that Nigeria cannot afford another major banking crisis.
Bawa noted that the demand that bankers report assets was intended at removing “the rots that pervade the nation’s banking industry” at a capacity development session organized by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) for law enforcement agencies in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He bemoaned the fact that those who were “ignorant of the nuances of the Bank Employees Declaration of Assets Act” misinterpreted it.
Bawa, who was represented by Ahmed Ghali, the Head of the EFCC’s Lagos Zonal Office, promised that despite the strong opposition to the policy, the EFCC would ensure that the country’s financial institutions were sanitized, and he called on bankers, financial institutions, and security agencies to work with the EFCC to rid the country of corruption and other financial crimes.
“We are aware of the various forms of fraud that are taking place in our financial institutions, notably in the banking industry.”
“Under my leadership, the EFCC has increased its engagement with bank executives more than ever before in dealing with this crisis,” Bawa added.
“One of the major pronouncements I made upon assumption of office was giving a directive to bankers to declare their assets before June 1, 2021, knowing the rots that pervade the nation’s banking sector,” he continued.
“It is not a witch hunt, contrary to some assertions; rather, it is part of initiatives to sanitize the country’s financial institutions.”
Mr. Bello Hassan, the NDIC’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, stated that the workshop was held to allow the corporation to share information with law enforcement agencies about banking industry developments.
Hassan further stated that the organization had begun compensating customers of the 42 banks whose licenses were revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2020 with insured funds.