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Asset Declaration: Fear grips bankers over today’s EFFC deadline

Asset Declaration: Fear grips bankers over today’s EFFC deadline 

By Afeez Olawoyin

Palpable fear has enveloped the banking sector over today’s deadline issued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) that it will begin demanding asset declaration forms from bankers as part of measures to enforce the provisions of the Bank Employees, (Declaration of Assets) Act 1986.

Some of the bankers who spoke to Cornerstone News in separate interviews said they were making last minutes efforts to beat the EFCC deadline.

Section 1 of the Act makes it mandatory for every employee of a Bank to make full disclosure of assets upon employment, and annually in subsequent years.

The penalty for violation of the Act, as spelled out in section 7(2), includes Imprisonment for a term of ten years;

“Any employee guilty of an offence under subsection (1) of this Section shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for ten years and shall, in addition, forfeit the excess assets or its equivalent in money

to the Federal Government”.

When contacted, Head, Communications and External Affairs Group, Guaranty Trust Bank(GTB), Oyinade Adegite, said the practice of asset declaration is an integral part of the bank’s corporate governance ideals and that it had been complying with such prior to the EFCC directive

EFCC in its latest newsletter for the month of May, a copy made available to Daily Sun, said the Chairman of  EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa says he would be demanding the asset declaration forms

of operators in the Nigerian banking sector.

Bawa at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, on March 16, 2021, declared that come June 1, he would be demanding the asset declaration forms of bankers.

All we are saying is that come June 1, we are going to be demanding it (assets declaration

forms). We want to look at it vis-à-vis other information that we have.

It is something that as an institution we have resolved to do. Of course, we expect stiff resistance, but we are determined.”

EFCC said the announcement expectedly drew mixed reactions, with some questioning the powers of the EFCC to issue the notice, while others applauded the move, saying it was long overdue.

It added that  with the June 1 ‘deadline’ just by the corner, there is trepidation in the banking sector amid permutations about the possible scenarios in the coming weeks, adding that among those who are yet to tidy their assets record, there is said to be an air foreboding regarding their fate.

The anti-graft agency disclosed that fear, though largely unspoken, is about the consequences of second-guessing the resolve of the EFCC chair to apply the full weight of the law on erring bankers.

The development according to EFCC is premised on the recent history of the banking sector, where a couple of former chief executives came under EFCC’s radar in the aftermath of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s whistle on the indiscretion of some bank Chiefs in 2008.

It added that two of the former bank executives have been jailed while others are still in court, battling to extricate their necks from the intricate web of fraud charges filed against them by the anti-graft agency.

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