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ICPC discovers N258m new banknotes hidden in vault of Abuja bank

THE Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has discovered the sum of N258 million stashed in the vault at the head office of Sterling Bank in Abuja.

The Commission said it made the discovery in the course of its ongoing efforts at ensuring that commercial banks comply with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) directive on the distribution of the redesigned naira notes.

The ICPC, in a statement on Tuesday, February 7, signed by its spokesperson Azuka Ogugua, said the discovery was made last Friday.

“This discovery followed one of the Commission’s operations at ensuring that commercial banks and other interest groups do not flout the apex bank’s directive.

“When the ICPC monitoring team visited the bank and discovered the stashed new Naira notes in the bank’s vault, it was informed that the cash was the remnant of what the CBN had given the bank for onward distribution to its branches.

“The team, however, found out that only the sum of Five Million Naira (N5m) each was distributed to their various branches.”

The Commission said the regional and service managers of the bank were arrested and later granted administrative bail while investigations continue into the matter.

In a similar vein, the Commission said it had effected the arrest of the Head of Operations, Keystone Bank, Mararaba in Nasarawa State, for frustrating customers efforts at getting the new naira notes.

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According to the Commission, a team of operatives, while on a routine operation, found out that the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at the branch were not dispensing to customers, while other bank customers were accessing only N1000.

“It was only after the arrest was made and clarification received from CBN that the position of the officers of the Bank was not correct that the ATMs started dispensing Five Thousand Naira to non-customers and Ten Thousand Naira to its customers.

“The team also arrested one Abdulkareem Shaibu, a Security Guard with Zenith Bank, 3rd Avenue Gwarimpa, as well as Ali Adam and Shafiu Umar,” the statement said.

The ICPC said one Shaibu, a security guard, was arrested for having five ATM cards which he was using to collect money for different unknown persons who were not within the bank premises at that time, while Adam and Umar were arrested in front of Zenith Bank, 1st Avenue Gwarimpa, for selling the new naira notes.

In another development, ICPC said two officials of FCMB Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo, had been taken into custody for assaulting officers of the ICPC and CBN Cash Swap Monitoring Team.

The Commission last week arrested officials of some commercial banks within Abuja for alleged sabotage.

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Since last week, the ICPC and other security organisations, including the EFCC, have been visiting banks to arrest hoarders of the new naira notes and end the current shortage.

The ICPC is a Nigerian Agency established on September 29, 2000, by former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

The Commission focuses on public sector corruption, particularly bribery, reward, graft, and abuse or misuse of office.

Its duty also includes investigation, prosecution, and prevention of corruption by assessing the operating procedures of Ministries, Agencies, and Parastatals.

Public awareness campaigns against corruption are also part of its responsibilities.

Icirnigeria

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