How routine audit triggered N8b fraud alert, by CBN

CBN Governor, Emefiele

CBN Governor, Emefiele

A clarification came yesterday from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on how its routine internal audit helped to reveal the N8billion currency fraud perpetuated by the some “unscrupulous” employees.

In a statement by the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Ibrahim Mu’azu, yesterday, the apex bank pointed out that it has become necessary to inform the general public, as a foil to any speculation, of the chronology of events that led the management of the bank to “handover some unscrupulous staff to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.”

According to the CBN, during a routine internal audit of the bank’s Cash Destruction activities in September 2014, its Briquetting Panel, comprising senior bank staffers from different branches, observed some anomalies at the Ibadan branch, which they immediately reported to the management.

However, on further investigation ordered by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, it was observed that there was a systematic scheme, which has been on for several years.

This scheme, cunningly scripted to shortchange the country at large, was such that mutilated higher denomination notes originally meant for destruction were swapped with lower denomination currencies.

“This practice, known as interleafing, basically labels a box with a higher value than its true content.

“As soon as the bank’s internal investigations were concluded beyond reasonable doubt that some wrongdoing had occurred, the affected members of staff who are middle-level officers were, depending on gravity of offence, either summarily dismissed or immediately placed on indefinite suspension on October 21, 2014, and all handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution,” the statement added.

The apex bank however, said it has also conducted a nationwide audit of all its 37 branches and found that this was an isolated scheme at Ibadan branch.

The bank assured that it would continue to collaborate with EFCC to ensure that the affected members of staff, as well as their accomplices in some commercial banks, are brought to justice.

It may not be far from the truth to say that the influx of money of such magnitude in the system has contributed to a significant level the raging challenges of monetary policies, which its tightening tools have been explored to the limit at the moment.

This is because monetary policy strategies are mapped out based on estimated figures and perhaps, additional degrees of error, which these billions of unexpected illegal proceeds could not have been included and as the years of the scheme pass by, the accumulated effects keep trickling into the system, worsening monetary policy applications.

Already, reports said there were 16 other suspects, who were accomplices to the crime, from various deposit money banks and would be arraigned today, in Ibadan, Oyo State.

EFCC spokesman, on the other hand, said the culprits are currently lamenting the looming consequences for their actions that were fired by greed and huge appetite for money.

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