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Naira Policy: EFCC tackles more ‘saboteurs’, arrests Bank Manager for hoarding N29m new notes

EFCC Operatives Uncover Bundles of New Naira Notes in a Leading Commercial Bank's Vault in Abuja, FCT Photo: Channels TV

*Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says the cash discovery, in Abuja, indicates sabotage of the government’s monetary policy by some banks as the agency intensifies surveillance of banks to access their vaults and verify payment or otherwise of the redesigned Naira notes

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

In continuation of the anti-graft agency’s offensive against groups and syndicates, including some bank officials, found thwarting the objective of the new Naira policy, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) disclosed it arrested an unnamed bank’s Operations Manager in one of its operations in Abuja, FCT, for hoarding N29 million worth of new Naira notes.

Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, Spokesman for EFCC, who disclosed this development Monday, stated that “an Operations Manager of a leading commercial bank in Abuja Central Area was on Monday, February 6, 2023, arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC for refusing to load the Automated Teller Machines, ATMs, of the bank despite having N29 million of the redesigned Naira notes in the branch’s vaults.”

It is recalled the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as the banking sector regulator, has fixed Friday, February 10, 2023, as the new deadline for swapping the old Naira notes with the new ones.

However, there has been apparent scarcity of banknotes across the West African country since President Muhammadu Buhari launched the redesigned Naira denominations last November in Abuja.

Following groundswell of complaints of unavailability of the new banknotes, and in a bid to ensure the consumers of financial products and services seamlessly access their money via the banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), the CBN assured Nigerians of enlisting the support of security to restore normalcy.

How the operatives uncovered  bundles of new banknotes

Explaining the process leading to the arrest of the erring bank operations manager, Uwujaren said: “Before he was whisked away for further questioning, the operatives ordered the loading of all the ATMs and the payment of the stipulated amount across the counter to the delight of the distraught customers who had spent hours in queues without getting the new notes.

“This discovery, which indicates sabotage of the government’s monetary policy by some banks, was made by the EFCC in continuation of the ongoing surveillance and visit to banks across the country to access their vaults and verify whether they were deliberately refusing to dispense the redesigned Naira notes.

The regulatory agency also noted that its operatives covered over five bank branches Monday in Abuja.

He stated: “Similar exercises are ongoing in Zonal Commands across the country.”

ACAMB’s defence against alleged hoarding of new Naira falls flat

Earlier, the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) Sunday, February 5, 2023, had faulted widespread claims that commercial banks were neck-deep in hoarding the new Naira notes in the economy.

Rasheed Bolarinwa, President of ACAMB, in a statement issued Sunday, had contended that “ACAMB affirms without any equivocation that banks are not in any way hoarding or holding back Naira notes or engaging in any act inimical to our avowed commitment to exciting customer experience.”

Contact EFCC for intervention in any infractions: Spokesman

Assuring Nigerian consumers of accessing their money at the banks without hazzles, the EFCC said that it would continue the surveillance operation across the country “until normalcy is restored to the banking system.

“Nigerians finding it difficult to access their funds at any bank and suspect foul play should contact the Commission for immediate intervention.”

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