By Ogaga Ariemu
As part of ongoing efforts at ensuring that commercial banks comply with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive on the distribution of the redesigned Naira note, operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) last week Friday, discovered the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty-Eight Million Naira (N258m) stashed in the vault at the head office of Sterling Bank in Abuja.
According to a statement by the commission’s spokesperson, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, the discovery followed one of the Commission’s operations at ensuring that commercial banks and other interest groups do not flout the apex bank’s directive.
When the ICPC monitoring team visited the bank and discovered the stashed new Naira notes in the bank’s vault, it was informed that the cash was the remnant of what the CBN had given the bank for onward distribution to its branches.
The team however found out that only the sum of Five Million Naira (N5m) each was distributed to their various branches.
Both the Regional and Service managers were arrested and later granted administrative bail while investigation continues.
In a similar vein, the Commission has effected the arrest of the Head of Operations, Keystone Bank, Mararaba in Nasarawa State for frustrating its customers at getting the new Naira notes.
The ICPC team, while on its routine operation, found out that the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at the branch were not dispensing to its customers, while other bank customers were accessing only One Thousand Naira.
It was only after the arrest was made and clarification received from CBN that the position of the officers of the Bank was not correct, that the ATMs started dispensing Five Thousand Naira to non-customers and Ten Thousand Naira to its customers.
The team also arrested one Abdulkareem Shaibu, a Security Guard with Zenith Bank, 3rd Avenue Gwarimpa, as well as Ali Adam and Shafiu Umar.
While Shaibu, the Security Guard was arrested for being in possession of five ATM cards which he was using to collect money for different unknown persons who were not within the Bank premises at that time, Adam and Umar were arrested in front of Zenith Bank, 1st Avenue Gwarimpa, for selling the new Naira notes.
In another development, two officials of FCMB Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo have been taken into custody for assault of officers of ICPC and CBN Cash Swap Monitoring Team.
Recall that it was reported last week that the said branch was caught twice for loading wrapped bank notes inside its ATMs.
The team, on a follow up visit to ascertain the bank’s compliance level, was assaulted right inside the Branch Manager’s office by the bank officials who vehemently refused to allow ICPC carry out its lawful duty, and then held hostage for about two hours.
By the time the reinforcement of Police and NSCDC officers arrived the scene of the incident, the masterminds of the assaults had gone into hiding, leading to the arrest of two bank officers who were also complicit.