EFCC Charges 6 Central Bank Officials in Currency Scam

Six staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were charged with fraud in an N8 billion ($40.2 million) currency scam, according to the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Sixteen commercial bankers were also charged with conspiring with the Central Bank of Nigeria regional executives in a “mega scam involving the theft and recirculation of defaced and mutilated currencies,” the Abuja-based EFCC said in a statement dated Sunday on its website. The suspects will appear at the Federal High Court in the southwest city of Ibadan from Tuesday to June 4.
Instead of destroying defaced local currency, the officials substituted it with newspapers cut into the size of naira notes, the EFCC said. The fraud has been partly to blame for the failure of monetary policy to check inflationary pressure for years, according to the agency.
President Muhammadu Buhari, a 72-year-old former military ruler who was inaugurated on May 29 after defeating Goodluck Jonathan in March elections, has made battling endemic corruption one of his administration’s top priorities.
The EFCC said the scam was exposed on November 3 through a petition alleging more than N6.6 billion was diverted and recycled by “light fingered top executives of the CBN at the Ibadan branch.”
The suspects, who were responsible for taking mutilated notes in exchange for fresh cash equivalent of the amount deposited, abused their positions, the EFCC said. Investigations found boxes that should have contained bundles of naira notes filled with newspaper instead.
Ibrahim Mu’azu, a spokesman for the central bank, didn’t answer two calls to his mobile phone seeking comment. The naira fell 0.2 per cent to 199.10 per dollar at 12:28 p.m. in Lagos, the commercial capital, taking the currency’s fall to 7.9 percent this year.
Corruption has continually dogged Nigeria’s institutions. Africa’s largest economy is ranked 136th out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, in joint place with Russia and Iran.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *