By Nimot Adetola Sulaimon
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has given a pat on the back to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for mandating bankers to declare their assets.
EFCC boss, Abdulrashed Bawa gave an ultimatum to operators in the Nigerian financial system, particularly bankers to declare their assets by June 1, 2021.
In a release, issued by CACOL on behalf of its Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran and signed by its Director, Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, he stated, “We observed with keen interest the directives issued by EFCC to bank employees in the country to declare their assets by June 1, 2021.
”Bawa was quoted as saying ‘We understood that at the tail end of every financial crime is for the criminal to have access to the funds that he or she has illegitimately gotten and we’re worried about the roles of financial institutions. And we have discussed, but we hope that all financial institutions, particularly the bankers, will declare their assets as provided for by the law, in accordance with the Bank Employees Declaration of Assets Act 1986”.
“Just like most other critical sectors of Nigeria’s economy, our Banking system was so compromised and despoiled to the extent that many of the senior cadre workers in the sector were looting and engaging in ludicrous speculative and dubious transactions for personal enrichment at the risk of ordinary depositors’ money.
”Whereas, in saner climes, the banking industry is pivotal in transforming the domestic economy and migrate it from subsistence to tertiary and advanced productivity by studying, underwriting and financing such advanced migration, what do we find here? Our banking gurus simply collect depositors’ funds, running into billions and use it to advance their individual and group’s business interests without recourse to laid-down procedures. For so many decades, this been the practice of most within the banking industry, hence, the need to check the excesses of these bank employees.”
“We at CACOL, congratulate the EFCC for issuing this directive. We believe there is an urgent need for a means to check illicit financial flows especially when it is carried out in connivance with employees of financial houses. Declaration of assets by bank employees would among other benefits stem the tide of accumulating illicit wealth within a very short time, betraying the trust of both their customers and employers and engaging in unethical practices that do not conform to international banking best practices”.
“We believe that for Nigeria to be reasonably ridden of this menace or ogre of corruption especially those perpetrated with the connivance of bank’s staff, declaration of assets is a welcome development. This is why we hail the decision of the EFCC to enforce the provisions of the Bank Employees Declaration of Assets Act. We concur with the opinion of the Chairman of EFCC that the directive is part of measures to sanitize the nation’s financial system and block some of the loopholes currently being exploited by unscrupulous players in the sector to undermine the economy through money laundering and illicit financial flows.