Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) has assured the banking public and indeed financial stakeholders not to panic over the on-going investigations of some financial transactions in some banks by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The apex bank noted that such exercise is aimed at strengthening the financial sector and the economy, while assuring that all the banks would continue to do their normal businesses and meet their obligations.
The CBN, in its latest statement signed by the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said that it was fully aware and was indeed a part of the on-going investigations of certain financial transactions in some banks by law enforcement authorities, noting that it was also carrying out its own special examinations and investigations to ascertain the veracity of some allegations, as well as the extent and persons that might be involved in such activities.
According to the statement, the Bank would like to reiterate that 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,” CBN said. This has been lingering development in the banking sector over the last two weeks, which have seen the law enforcement agency – EFCC visit, invite, arrest, detain and interrogate a number of banking executives over some financial transactions in the banking system.
It would be recalled that Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, few weeks ago arrested the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, and some of his senior staff in connection with the $115m slush fund routed through the bank by former Petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, for electioneering purposes. The $115m was contributed by several oil companies, with Diezani herself, donating over $25m, all converted into N23.3bn to bribe officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to support a second term efforts of former president, Goodluck Jonathan, in the 2015 election.