Banker workers may have been left reeling in the gale of anxiety following a directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that all personnel working in the 19 Deposit Money Banks in the country declare their assets.
The directive, which was contained in a letter by the Apex bank through the Banking Supervision Department of the CBN, was issued about 4 weeks ago. In the letter, bank officials were given only one week to complete the assets declaration process.
According to some economic experts, the move looks a lot like the Federal Government is beginning to expand its ongoing anti-corruption crusade to the private sector, especially the banking industry.
As of today, August 12, investigation showed that only the staffers of Ecobank Nigeria, First City Monument Bank Limited and Fidelity Bank Plc had complied with the directive.
A top official of one of the tier-1 banks who spoke on condition of anonymity while narrating his experience said:
“All our staff members, from the most junior to the most senior, were asked to declare their assets through a court affidavit. It was handled by the company’s lawyer.
“We were asked to declare all our assets, including developed and undeveloped parcels of land, properties, houses in Nigeria and outside Nigeria etc. We were asked to also declare everything, including power generators at home. We complied within one week.”
It was learnt that some top officials living beyond their means may have been hit by the repulsive tornado of anxiety.
Punch gathered that quite a number of top bankers, who own huge assets, were panicky on how they would be able to justify the huge assets in their names should the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) begin to wield the interrogative hammer.
Speaking on the assets declaration, an executive director in one of the top three banks, said:
“It is part of the ongoing anti-corruption crusade in the country. The Federal Government is trying to deepen the anti-corruption war in the private sector, and it is believed that the banking sector is a very critical sector. This is why the CBN has been mandated to do this.”
A top official of the CBN who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that the CBN’s move was in line with a letter issued to it by the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB.
“The directive is from the Code of Conduct Bureau. It is an extant rule. Before now, most people have not been complying. So the CCB wrote a letter to the CBN reminding it about it. This is why the CBN had to write the banks to comply”.