The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it has arrested the Regional and Service managers of Sterling Bank Plc in the Federal Capital Territory for hoarding N258 million of the new naira notes.
The commission, in a statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday night said the fund was stashed in the vault of the bank at its head office in Abuja.
According to commission, “Operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) last week Friday, discovered the sum of Two Hundred and Fifty-Eight Million Naira (N258m) stashed in the vault at the head office of Sterling Bank in Abuja.
“This discovery followed one of the Commission’s operations at ensuring that commercial banks and other interest groups do not flout the apex bank’s directive.
“When the ICPC monitoring team visited the bank and discovered the stashed new Naira notes in the bank’s vault, it was informed that the cash was the remnant of what the CBN had given the bank for onward distribution to its branches.
“The team however found out that only the sum of Five Million Naira (N5m) each was distributed to their various branches.
“Both the Regional and Service managers were arrested and later granted administrative bail while investigation continues”.
Recall, we had reported how officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) discovered N6 million of the new naira notes hoarded in bank, Ado Ekiti branch on Bank Road, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State, having received the funds for over two weeks. In a trending video on social media, a man who identified himself as Oluwole Owoeye, a deputy director of CBN, while monitoring the distribution of the new naira notes in the state, was seen questioning the bank officials as to why they have not uploaded the funds into their Automated Teller Machines, (ATMs), despite having six of the machines in place. The CBN director also announced a fine of N1 million for each day the fund was in the bank’s custody.
Over the past few days, Nigerians have been battling with the scarcity of new naira notes, a development that has led to queues at banking halls and ATMs.
The naira notes paucity, coupled with the scarcity of petrol, has also led to protests in some parts of the country.
The CBN had given a deadline of January 31 for the use of old naira notes but it was recently extended to February 10.
On Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed doubts about the commitment of banks to the success of the naira redesign policy, describing them as “inefficient, greedy and selfish”.