Representatives investigate CBN, commercial banks over unclaimed funds, breaches

The House of Representatives on Wednesday unveiled its intention to investigate the activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks operating in the country regarding unclaimed funds and offences.

To this end, the House created an ad hoc committee chaired by the Honorable Unyime Idem.

The resolution was adopted following the adoption of a motion sponsored by the Honorable Dachung Bagos.

In his main debate, Hon. Bagos observed that the Bank Verification Number (BVN) was introduced by the apex bank in 2014 into the Nigerian banking system as a way to verify and combat money laundering, financing illicit and fraudulent ownership of bank accounts used for fraud. .

“The Chamber also notes that approximately seven years after the introduction of the BVN into the Nigerian banking system, approximately 45.85 million bank accounts across Nigeria are not yet linked to the BVNs, as the data published by the Nigerian systems Interbank Settlement (NIBSS) in June On 23 February 2021, disclosed that the total number of bank accounts in Nigeria in May 2019 was pegged at 122.071 million and active accounts in May 2020 stood at 72.936 million.

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“The Chamber further notes that financial experts have argued that there are suspicious bank deposits detected after Nigeria adopted the bank verification number, amounting to trillions of naira left unclaimed in Nigerian banks because their owners did not hadn’t registered a BVN or link to an existing one, if any.

“The Chamber is aware that the commercial banks in Nigeria have categorically disobeyed and continue to hold more than necessary money from failed transactions, against the directives of the Central Bank of Nigeria and to the detriment of Nigerians.

“The Chamber is concerned that despite the Central Bank of Nigeria‘s (CBN) introduction of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) to combat the threat in the financial sectors, an estimated 71 million customers are still using their accounts without compulsory identification, by data, of the Nigerian Interbank Settlement Systems (NIBSS).

“The Chamber is concerned that the lack of legal regulatory framework and political will to deal with unclaimed assets, especially abandoned and trapped funds in commercial banks, continues to place Nigeria behind so many countries in the world that have developed the legal framework for dealing with these assets.

“The Chamber is also concerned about the recent disclosure of funds collected by commercial banks on behalf of certain key Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the tune of N1.2 trillion, in revenue they generated but have failed to pay into the Federation’s account since 2016, as required by law.

“The Chamber is also concerned that some commercial banks have refused to remit to the government fees and levies collected on behalf of government agencies and departments over the past 10 years.

“The House is troubled that although the Central Bank of Nigeria has statutory responsibility to regulate commercial banks in the country, it has failed in its responsibilities to exercise necessary supervision over commercial banks.

“The Chamber is also concerned that the Central Bank of Nigeria has not been transparent in the implementation of its intervention programs and projects, and has exhibited near zero levels of accountability and transparency. before the National Assembly with respect to both locally and internationally generated funds,” he noted.

In his remarks, Hon. Dauda Zakari highlighted the need to investigate funds trapped in banks, especially mobilization for contracts that were later dropped or contracts revoked and there was no clear line of accountability.

After the debate, the House mandated the ad hoc committee to also investigate unremitted funds collected on behalf of federal government agencies and departments by commercial banks.

The Ad Hoc Committee was also mandated to look into the numerous breaches committed by the Central Bank of Nigeria against the provisions of the Act and Enabling Acts of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Good People of Nigeria, particularly in the area of ​​Projects and intervention programs. and report back within eight weeks for new legislation.

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Representatives investigate CBN, commercial banks over unclaimed funds, breaches

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Representatives investigate CBN, commercial banks over unclaimed funds, breaches

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