The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it will start asking operators in the Nigerian financial system, particularly bankers to declare their assets as from June 1, 2021.
The EFCC Chairman, Abdulrashed Bawa, gave this directive Tuesday while speaking with journalists at the State House, Abuja, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Punch Newspaper quoted him as saying that the commission was worried about the roles of financial institutions in helping criminals to have access to proceeds of their crime.
“The EFCC, come June 1, 2021, will be demanding for this asset declaration forms, filled by the bankers so that the line that we have drawn from June 1 is really complied with by bankers in particular,” Mr Bawa said.
A statement signed by EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, also quoted Mr Bawa as saying that directive was in line with the Bank Employees, ETC. (Declaration of Assets) Act 1986, enacted to ensure adequate measures in sanitising the nation’s financial system.
Mr Bawa said the commission had discussed it and expressed 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 Asset Act.”
He added that action would also help to block some of the loopholes currently being exploited by unscrupulous players in the sector to undermine the Nigerian economy through money laundering and illicit financial flows.
Punishment for infraction
Mr Bawa said Section 1, and 7 of the Bank Employees, ETC. (Declaration of Assets) Act 1986, makes it mandatory for every employee of a bank to make full disclosure of assets upon employment, and annually in subsequent years.
“It shall be an offence for an employee of a bank to own assets in excess of his legitimate known and provable income,” Mr Bawa said.
He added that the penalty for violation of the Act, as spelt out in section 7(2) includes imprisonment for a term of 10 years.
“Any employee guilty of an offence under subsection (1) of this section shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for ten years and shall, in addition, forfeit the excess assets or its equivalent in money to the Federal Government,” he added.
Mr Bawa who also expressed worry about youth involvement in cybercrime, appealed to parents to take a special interest in the activities of their children.
According to him, ”parents have a responsibility to ensure that they nurture their children with the right set of values to ensure that they are not easily swayed by the allure of easy money through fraud and cybercrimes”.
He added that youths must learn that there is no shortcut to enduring wealth.
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