The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN said on Monday that it had already sacked six officials that were involved in the N8bn currency fraud in some of its branches.
Ibrahim Muazu, CBN Director, Corporate Communications Department, said in a statement that the middle-level officers among the accused had been summarily dismissed or placed on indefinite suspension, depending on gravity of their offence.
“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”
Meanwhile, the suspects were today remanded in prison custody following their arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
They were arraigned before Justice N. Ayo Emmanuel of a Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State.
The suspects — Patience Okoro Eye; Afolabi Olufemi Johnson; Ilori Adekunle Sunday; Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf — were arraigned on a five -count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud and stealing.
Specifically, the apex bank employees were alleged to have compromised an exercise by the CBN meant to mop up mutilated and defaced higher denomination currencies from circulation, to combat inflation.
Instead of destroying the currencies, they allegedly recycled the notes and substituted them with newspapers neatly cut to naira sizes.
When the charges were read to them, they pleaded not guilty.
Count One of the charge reads:
“That you Patience Okoro Eye; Afolabi Olufemi Johnson; Ilori Adekunle Sunday; Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf on or about 5th August, 2014 in Ibadan within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, have by virtue of abuse of your office, being employees of Central Bank of Nigeria, contributed to the economic adversity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria when you destroyed a box marked ” Counted Audited Dirty” filled with Newspapers in place of a box containing N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira) of N1,000 denomination and which activity led to the increase of money in circulation which the briquetting exercise of Central Bank of Nigeria was intended to control and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 1(2) (b) and Section 10 (1) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provision) Act, Cap. R4, Laws of the Federation Nigeria, 2014″.
Count Two reads:
“That you Patience Okoro Eye; Afolabi Olufemi Johnson; Ilori Adekunle Sunday; Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf on or about 5th August, 2014 in Ibadan within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, engaged in corrupt practices when you replaced the content of a box of N1,000 denomination in a total sum of N10, 000,000 (Ten Million Naira) marked as ” Counted Audited Dirty” meant for briquetting, with Newspapers and which sum you converted to your own use and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 1(2) (a) and Section 10 (1) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provision) Act, Cap. R4, Laws of the Federation Nigeria, 2014″.
In view of their plea, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, prayed the court for a trial date and for the defendants to be remanded in prison custody. He opposed their bail applications and urged counsel to the defendants to present their bail applications formally to court.
However, counsel to the 1st accused person, K. A. Lawal made an oral application for bail.
All other counsel followed suit.
Justice Emmanuel however adjourned the matter to June 9, 2015 for hearing of the bail applications and July 6 and 7, 2015 for commencement of trial.
He ordered that all the defendants be remanded in Agodi prison custody, Ibadan