CBN vows to prosecute BVN violators

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By Kayode Tokede

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stated in its revised regulatory framework for Bank Verification Number operations that violators will be sanctioned.

This was disclosed in a circular titled “Issuance of revised regulatory framework for Bank Verification Number operations and watch-list for the Nigerian banking industry,” and addressed to all deposit money banks, mobile money operators, super agents and payment service providers.

The circular listed watch list stakeholders to include the CBN, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), banks, other financial institutions and bank customers.

Part of the circular stated that, “The following infractions by participants shall attract appropriate penalties:

“Misuse of the BVN watch-listing process for victimisation; improper linking of accounts/wallets (except Tier 1); and other infraction(s), as may be determined by the CBN.”

The CBN said it would ensure all operated accounts/wallets (except Tier 1) (including accounts/wallets (except Tier 1) opened through agents) were linked with the signatories’ BVNs within 24 hours of NIBSS making BVN available.

It added that operators must “enroll all mobile money wallets (except Tier 1) subscribers on the BVN database and link their wallets (except Tier 1) with their BVNs within 180 days of the issuance of this framework;

“Ensure that BVN details of all signatories, directors, and beneficial owners are linked to their respective non-individual accounts/wallets (except Tier 1).

“The CBN shall determine fees payable for accessing information from the BVN database. BVN participants shall ensure that risk mitigation measures are in place to minimise operational risks. The BVN operations shall not be susceptible to sustained operational failures.

“A Watch-List shall be maintained for the banking industry. The Watch-List contains BVN records of individuals that have been confirmed to be involved in breaches outlined within this Framework.

“All aggrieved individuals whose BVNs were watch-listed shall make formal requests for delisting through the initiating participant. Only a participant that placed an individual’s BVN on the Watch-list can request for delisting. Any participant who fails to perform its stipulated responsibilities shall be penalised by the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

The CBN in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, deployed a centralised Bank Verification Number (BVN) System in February 2014.