The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested the operations manager of a bank in Abuja for allegedly hoarding ₦29 million in new naira notes.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria’s apex bank, set February 10 as the deadline for exchanging old naira notes for new ones. However, there is a shortage of banknotes, which prompted security agencies to intervene.
The EFCC, one of the agencies, said it arrested the unnamed bank employees during one of its operations.
“An Operations Manager of a leading Commercial bank in Abuja Central Area was on Monday, February 6, 2023, arrested by operatives of the Economic and Financial Commission, EFCC for refusing to load the Automated Teller Machines, ATMs, of the bank despite having ₦29 million of the redesigned Naira notes in the branch’s vaults,” the agency said in a Monday statement.
“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 in queues without getting the new notes.
“This discovery, which indicates 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 are ongoing in Zonal Commands across the country.”
The EFCC assured that it will continue the operation across Nigeria “until normalcy is restored to the banking system.
“Nigerians finding it difficult to access their funds at any bank and suspect foul play should contact the Commission for immediate intervention.”