Six CBN top officials, 16 others to appear in court for N8bn ‘fraud’

Six top officials of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and 16 others
from some commercial banks are to appear before an Ibadan Federal High
court tomorrow June 2nd over their alleged involvement in a N8 billion
fraud. According to a statement by the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC), the CBN officials and their accomplices who are all
currently in the custody of the EFCC, stole and recirculated defaced and
mutilated naira notes to the tune of N8 billion.

The notes according to the CBN was to be destroyed due to their bad
state. However instead of destroying the notes, the CBN officials
decided to replace the mutilated notes with newspaper cutouts in naira
sizes and burnt them, pretending they had destroyed the mutilated note.
They then returned the mutilated naira notes into circulation. The
statement from the EFCC ..

“The suspects drawn from various business
units of the apex bank are to be arraigned by the anti-graft agency
before a Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, from Tuesday
June 2, 2015 to Thursday June 4, 2015 They include Patience Okoro Eye
(Abuja), Afolabi Olufemi (Lagos), Kolawole Babalola (Ibadan), Olaniran
Muniru Adeola (Ibadan), Fatai Yusuf, Adekunle (Head, Security, CBN,
(Ibadan) and Ilori Adekunle Sunday (Akure). The remaining 16 suspects
are drawn from various commercial banks who were found to have conspired
with the CBN executives to swing the heist. All the suspects who are
currently in the custody of the EFCC are now ruing the day they
literally allowed greed and craze for materialism to becloud their sense
of judgment and responsibility, when they elected to help themselves to
tons of defaced Naira notes. Instead of carrying out the statutory
instruction to destroy the currency, they substituted it with newspapers
neatly cut to Naira sizes and proceeded to recycle the defaced and
mutilated currency. The fraud is partly to blame for the failure of
government monetary policy over the years as currency mop-up exercises
by the apex bank failed to check the inflationary pressure on the
economy. The lid on the scam, which is widely suspected to have gone on
unchecked for years, was blown on November 3, 2014 via a petition to the
EFCC alleging that over N6, 575, 549, 370.00 was cornered and
discreetly recycled by light fingered top executives of the CBN at the
Ibadan branch. The suspects, who were members of the Briquetting Panel,
plotted their way to infamy on September 8, 2014 while carrying out a
Briquetting exercise at the CBN Branch, Ibadan. In banking parlance,
Briquetting is disintegration and destruction of counted and audited
dirty notes. By this practice, depositor banks usually take mutilated
notes to the CBN in exchange for fresh notes equivalent of the amount
deposited. The depositor banks, in this instance, are Zenith Bank, FCMB,
Wema Bank, Access Bank, First Bank, Skye Bank, Ecobank and Sterling
Bank. But while carrying out the assignment, the team was alleged to
have found one of the currency boxes filled only with old newspapers
rather than 20 bundles of N1000 notes. A similar case, according to
investigation, had been discovered on September 22, 2014 when a box that
was supposed to contain N500 notes to the tune of N5billion was filled
with old newspapers. Unlike in the past, this fraud could not be swept
under the carpet, as a member of the Briquetting Panel from the Osogbo
branch blew the lid on the illicit deal. In a statement, the informant
stated that the exercise was designed to last between August 4 and 8,
2014. The 35-year-old, however, stated that she discovered a strange
‘sight’ while opening the third box on the second day of the exercise.
It was a discovery that beat her ken. She added that she confronted the
other members of the panel, including Eye, Head, Briquetting Panel;
Treasury Assistant; Coordinator and Head, Security, CBN, Ibadan, who all
assured her that they would look into it. But she later found out that
it was all a ruse. She said she later found out that Eye not only
maintained sealed lips over the matter but omitted it from her report. A
five-count charge awaits the suspects.”


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