The acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, on Tuesday said some Nigerian banks were already on the verge of collapse due to the activities of unscrupulous individuals.
Mr Magu also asked banks to provide a list of unscrupulous customers ahead of the 2019 general elections.
A statement by the EFCC Spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, quoted Mr Magu as saying that the move would help curb the level of corruption in the country.
According to the statement, Mr Magu said this in Lagos on Tuesday during a session with the Association of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria. The EFCC chief also charged banks’ compliance officers to always provide the commission with the necessary information to assist it in carrying out its roles.
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“We must work together to save this country. Most of the banks are sitting on the water. In fact, some of these banks are almost collapsing,” the EFCC acting chairman said.
“I know there are questions you can’t ask, particularly if it involves some individuals, but if you give us information on such people, we will move in. If there are fundamental issues that can affect your banks, you can give us the information, especially as another election season approaches.
“I don’t want to be charging banks alongside suspected criminals because doing so can wreak havoc on the economy. It will even discourage investors from coming to the country.”
The statement also said that Mr Magu warned that there must be accountability in the banking system, due to its sensitivity to the nation’s economy, adding that the commission could assist banks in recovering bad loans.
He urged the officials to be more diligent with their jobs because “every bank is capable of going distressed, no matter its size. That is why we are battling to see that you stay afloat.”
He said, “There must be due diligence, even in this practice of private banking. There must be accountability; there must be transparency in our transactions. You don’t have to wait until anything goes awry before you begin to find a solution to it.
“The commission is ready to partner with you to ensure a healthy economy. We are ready to assist the banks in recovering their debts, but compliance officers must ensure due diligence, especially when giving out loans to customers.
“I know you sometimes need to protect some of your customers. But it is sometimes better that you do without some of these people; otherwise, you will be seen as conspiring with them to steal public funds.”