The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday assured the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of its readiness to work with the corporation in its investigations to ensure its officials, implicated in the N8billion recycled old currency notes fraud, are sanctioned.
The anti-graft agency said the affected officials, including senior staff of the CBN drawn from various business units of the Bank across the states of the federation, were implicated in the “theft and recirculation of defaced and mutilated currencies”.
They include Patience Okoro Eye (Abuja), Afolabi Olufemi (Lagos), Kolawole Babalola (Ibadan), Olaniran Muniru Adeola (Ibadan), and Fatai Yusuf, Adekunle (Head, Security, CBN, (Ibadan) and Ilori Adekunle Sunday, (Akure)
Rather than destroy old currency notes, the EFCC said the culprits substituted them with newspapers neatly cut to Naira sizes and recycled the defaced and mutilated currency.
Commercial banks also affected include Zenith Bank, FCMB, Wema Bank, Access Bank, First Bank, Skye Bank, Ecobank and Sterling Bank.
The CBN management on Monday said it will work with the EFCC and assist in its investigations to ensure that all persons implicated in the scam were brought to book.
CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Ibrahim Mu’azu, said it was in the course of the Bank’s routine internal audit of its cash destruction activities that the CBN Briquetting Panel, comprising Senior Bank Staff from different branches, noticed some anomalies at the Ibadan Branch, and immediately alerted the Bank’s Management.
On further investigation ordered by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Mr. Mu’azu said that it was discovered that a systematic scheme, where mutilated higher denomination notes meant for destruction, were swapped with lower denomination currencies, had been going on.
He said the practice known as ‘interleafing’, by labeling boxes with a higher value currency notes than its true content, had been going on for several years, before it was uncovered.
He said the CBN has since carried out the audit of all its 37 branches to confirm that the fraud was only an isolated scheme at Ibadan Branch. He further said; “The Bank will continue to collaborate with the EFCC to ensure that affected CBN staff and their accomplices in some commercial banks were brought to justice,”.