Home Business N8bn Currency Recycling Scam: How CBN Ibadan Branch Staff Were Nabbed

N8bn Currency Recycling Scam: How CBN Ibadan Branch Staff Were Nabbed

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has cleared the air on the circumstances that led to the arrest and prosecution of six of its staff in the Ibadan branch involved in currency recycling fraud. CBN’s Director of Communications, Ibrahim Mu’azu, admitted that the offence that led to the arrest and detention of the six officers had been going on for several years, but was only discovered during a nationwide audit of all its 37 branches last year following the allegation of currency fraud and recirculation of mutilated and defaced currencies in which some of its staff members were indicted. Mu’azu confirmed that Ibadan branch of CBN was notorious for such acts and some of the indicted staff members had acted in collusion with staff of some commercial banks. He added that the bank had handed over the senior officers to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission while the junior staff were either dismissed or suspended. Speaking on the chroaznology of events that led to the arrest of these unscrupulous staff to the EFCC, Mu’azu said: “During a routine internal audit of the Bank’s Cash Destruction activities in September 2014, the CBN Briquetting Panel comprising of senior bank staff from different branches noticed some anomalies at the Ibadan branch, and immediately reported this to the Central Bank’s management”. Mu’azu said on further investigation ordered by CBN Governor Emefiele, it was discovered that a systematic scheme, which had been on for several years, was being run in which mutilated higher denomination notes originally meant for destruction were swapped with lower denomination currencies. “This practice known as interleafing, basically labels a box with a higher value than its true content”. According to the Director, as soon as the bank’s internal investigations were concluded beyond reasonable doubt that some wrongdoing had occurred, the affected members of staff who are middle level officers, depending on the gravity of the offence, were either summarily dismissed or immediately placed on indefinite suspension on October 21, 2014, and all handed over to EFCC for further investigation and prosecution. The investigation also revealed the names of deposit money banks that colluded with the CBN staff in the scam. The affected banks are Skye Bank, FCMB, Access bank, Zenith Bank, Ecobank, and Wema Bank. Others are Sterling Bank and First Bank. Meanwhile, a source from the bank said the only solution to this kind of situation is to beef up the security and also increase security control when these monies are been transported from banks to the CBN.

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