The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) says it will begin the investigation of the directors and officers of the 183 microfinance banks whose licences were revoked earlier this year.

The Managing Director of the NDIC, Mr Bello Hassan, said this at a one-day capacity building workshop for law enforcement agencies on Thursday in Lagos.

He said the law enforcement agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian police, among others, would soon be called to investigate sharp practices by the directors of these defunct banks.

“As you are all aware, the Central Bank of Nigeria recently revoked banking licenses of 183 MicroFinance Banks (MFBs) and Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs) which may require you to be called upon to investigate some of the directors and officers of these institutions with a view to bring to book those found culpable in the collapse of these institutions,” he said.

Hassan, represented by Mr Henry Fomah, Head of Legal Department of NDIC, noted that through collaborative efforts of agencies, 12 prosecution cases were currently on-going at various courts.

“There are 25 on-going investigation at the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), 11 with the EFCC and five concluded investigations with the Federal Ministry of Justice for advice and prosecution,” he said.

According to him, this indicates that the corporation as well as other government agencies are on the right course through collaboration.

This, he said, would bring to book errant directors, officers, managers of these banks that led to their collapse adding that a stable financial system could not be guaranteed if the banking industry was not well sanitised.

“The corporation, whilst bearing in mind the positive impact of such collaboration will continue to strive at enhancing the synergy between all of us in the areas of law enforcement relating to investigation and prosecution of financial malpractices.

“I want to use this forum to appeal to the members of the task force not to relent on your oars but to execute the given mandate diligently thereby achieving the objectives of establishing the task force,’’ he said.

He added that the corporation was not unaware of the challenges of investigating and prosecuting financial malpractices and bank fraud cases urging officers not to relent in their efforts.

The NDIC boss noted that the advancements in information technology with new possibilities in banking operations had equally exposed the banking subsector to emerging threats.

He said the situation had increased the burden on the regulators and supervisors to enhance their operational capacities as well as heightened the need for more collaboration between agencies involved in the fight against banking malpractices.

“This workshop is, therefore, among the steps taken to provide a platform for the agencies concerned to sharpen their skills, share ideas and be well-equipped to face the challenges.

“We recognise that, for the corporation to achieve its mandate and objectives in a more efficient and effective manner; and for the banking system to thrive on the gains of a stable financial system; we must all rise up to the challenge of bringing to book those who might have contributed to the failure of their banks,’’ Hassan said.

Mr Kofo Salam-Alada, the Head of Legal Services at CBN, said it was essential for agencies that would collaborate with regulators to have deep insight into how regulators operate.

“A lot of gaps have been seen which is why we must commend the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation for having been the vanguard of sponsoring capacity building exercises for the past 12 years,” Salam-Alada said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the aim of the workshop is to equip officers involved in the investigation and suspicion of financial malpractices in the banking system with necessary skills required to carry out their duties diligently, with particular focus on failed banks.

The workshop will also enhance their skills and knowledge as law enforcement officers and/or staff of agencies involved one way or the other in the investigation of banking malpractices with special emphasis on distressed banks.




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