The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has summarily dismissed some of its staff implicated in a mega scam involving the theft and recirculation of defaced and mutilated currencies, mounting to a total of 6.5 Billion.
The CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Ibrahim Mu’azu, said today in a statement in Abuja that the bank has also placed others on indefinite suspension.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had announced yesterday that it was set to prosecute 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), alongside 16 other suspects drawn from various commercial banks for allegedly involved in conspiring with the CBN executives to perpetrate the fraud.
The would be charged tomorrow by EFCC before a Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State.
In the statement today, Mu’azu described the suspects as “unscrupulous staff,” disclosing that it was the Management of the CBN that handed them over to the EFCC for prosecution.
According to him: “during a routine internal audit of the Bank’s Cash Destruction activities in September 2014, the CBN Briquetting Panel comprising Senior Bank Staff from different branches noticed some anomalies at the Ibadan Branch, and immediately reported this to the Bank’s Management. On further investigation ordered by the Governor, it was discovered that a systematic scheme, which has been on for several years, was being run in which 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 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 21 October 2014, and all handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution. The CBN has also conducted a nationwide audit of all 37 branches of the Bank and found that this was an isolated scheme at Ibadan Branch. The Bank will continue to collaborate with the EFCC to ensure that affected CBN workers, as well as their accomplices in some commercial banks, are brought to justice.” [myad]