By Adewale Sanyaolu
Palpable fear has enveloped the banking sector over today’s deadline issued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that it will begin demanding asset declaration form from bankers as part of measures to enforce the provisions of the Bank Employees, (Declaration of Assets) Act 1986.
Some of the bankers who spoke to Daily Sun in separate interviews said they were making last minutes efforts to beat the EFCC deadline.
Section 1 of the Act makes it mandatory for every employee of a bank to make full disclosure of assets upon employment, and annually in subsequent years.
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 10 years and shall, in addition, forfeit the excess assets or its equivalent in money to the Federal Government”.
When contacted, Head, Communications and External Affairs Group, Guaranty Trust Bank(GTB), Oyinade Adegite, said the practice of asset declaration is an integral part of the bank’s corporate governance ideals and that it had been complying with such prior to the EFCC directive
EFCC in its latest newsletter for the month of May, a copy made available to Daily Sun, said the EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, says he will be demanding the asset declaration forms of operators in the Nigerian banking sector.
Bawa , at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, on March 16, 2021, declared that by June 1, he would be demanding the asset declaration forms of bankers.
“All we are saying is that come June 1, we are going to be demanding for it (assets declaration forms). We want to look at it vis-à-vis other information that we have.
It is something that as an institution we have resolved to do. Of course, we expect stiff resistance, but we are determined,” he said.
EFCC said the announcement expectedly drew mixed reactions, with some questioning the powers of the EFCC to issue the notice, while others applauded the move, saying it was long overdue. It added that with the June 1 ‘deadline’ just by the corner, there is trepidation in the banking sector amid permutations about the possible scenarios in the coming weeks.
Source: Nigerian Newspapers Online