The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arrested the operations manager of a branch of an unnamed commercial bank in Abuja for allegedly hoarding N29 million of the new naira notes.
EFCC’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement that the bank refused to load its Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) despite having N29 million of the redesigned Naira notes in the branch’s vaults.
The commission said it took the bank official, whose name was also not given, into custody for further questioning. It said its operatives also ordered the bank to load the money in the ATMs and make payment to customers over the counter.
The EFCC described the incident as a sabotage of the government’s monetary policy by some banks.
“Before he was whisked away for further questioning, the operatives ordered the loading of all the ATMs and the payment of the stipulated amount across the counter to the delight of the distraught customers who had spent hours on queues without getting the new notes.
“This discovery, which indicates a sabotage of the government’s monetary policy by some banks, was made by the EFCC in continuation of the ongoing surveillance and visit to banks across the country to access their vaults and verify whether they were deliberately refusing to dispense the redesigned Naira notes. More than five bank branches were covered today by the operatives in Abuja. Similar exercises were ongoing in Zonal Commands across the country,” the commission’s statement read in part.
The arrest came two days after the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said it arrested two bank officials Osun State, for refusing to load its ATMs with cash.
The EFCC also in its statement, vowed to continue its operation “until normalcy is restored to the banking system.
“Nigerians finding it difficult to access their funds at any bank and suspects foul play should contact the commission, for immediate intervention.”
In recent weeks, Nigerians have been rushing to meet the CBN deadline for the phase-out of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.
The new policy has created chaos with many Nigerians having to endure hours of queuing at Automated Teller Machines (ATM) points. Others have also had to pay exorbitant charges for withdrawals through Point of Sale (POS) centres.
READ ALSO: Court orders CBN to stick to 10 February validity date for old naira notes
As a result of the ongoing hardship experienced by many Nigerians, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefile, had extended the earlier deadline of 31 January, by 10 days up until 10 February..
On Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari also urged citizens to give him seven days to resolve the cash crunch that has become a problem across the country from the policy of the CBN to change high value Naira notes with new ones.
He said this after the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors visited him at the Presidential Villa to seek solutions to the cash crunch which has plunged many Nigerians into hardship.
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