Six officials of Central Bank of Nigeria that were involved in the N8bn currency fraud in some of its branches have been dismissed, the apex bank said on Monday.
In a statement released in Abuja by the bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Ibrahim Mu’azu, the CBN said that some of the middle-level officers among the accused had been summarily dismissed or placed on indefinite suspension, depending on gravity of their offence.
The statement said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria will like to inform the general public of the chronology of events that led the Management of the CBN to hand over some unscrupulous staff to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for prosecution.
“During a routine internal audit of the Bank’s Cash Destruction activities in September 2014, the CBN Briquetting Panel, comprising senior bank staff from different branches, noticed some anomalies at the Ibadan Branch, and immediately reported this to the bank’s management.
“On further investigation ordered by the Governor, it was discovered that a systematic scheme, which has 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.
“As soon as the Bank’s internal investigations concluded beyond reasonable doubt that some wrongdoing had occurred, the affected members of staff, who are middle-level officers were, depending on gravity of offence, either summarily dismissed or immediately placed on indefinite suspension on October 21, 2014, and all handed over to the EFCC for further investigation and prosecution.”
The bank added that following the incident, a nationwide audit of all 37 branches of the CBN was conducted noting that the outcome of the investigation showed that this was an isolated scheme at the Ibadan Branch.
It said it would continue to collaborate with the EFCC to ensure that affected CBN staff as well as their accomplices in some commercial banks, were brought to justice.
The EFCC explained that five top officials of the CBN and 16 others were to be arraigned for alleged complicity in an N8bn currency fraud on Tuesday.
Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement on Sunday that the suspects were to be arraigned for circulating defaced and mutilated currency notes at the Federal High Court, Ibadan, Oyo State on June 2.
Uwujaren said the 16 others, expected to be arraigned alongside the CBN bigwigs, were members of staff of various commercial banks in the country.
He said that the suspects would be arraigned on five counts at the high court.