Ben Ezechime, Enugu
The Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN); a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has demanded for strict adherence to the Declaration of Assets Act of 1986 to stem the rising wave of Bank fraud in Nigeria.
The president of the organisation, Olu Omotayo Esq, made the demand in a letter addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and made available to newsmen in Enugu.
He noted that the 1986 Act was enacted to check the rising corrupt practices in the banking industry by bank employees and the Nigerian Customs service.
He said: “The Act in its’ Section 1 provides thus: ”(1) Every employee of a Bank shall, within fourteen days of the commencement of this Act make a full disclosure of all his assets.
“In the case of a new employee, he shall within fourteen days of assuming duty with the Bank make a full disclosure of all his assets at the time of his assuming duty; and for the purpose of this subsection, a transfer or secondment from one Bank to another shall be treated as a new employment.”
According to him, section 4 of the Act, made it mandatory that the asset declaration must be done every year by all bank workers in Nigeria before the Registrar of Courts and submitted to the Chief Executives of each bank who will in turn submit them to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“While Section 8, of the Act makes it an offence punishable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of 10years, for every bank worker in Nigeria who fails or knowingly makes a declaration that is false.
“The implication of this Act is that almost all banks workers are guilty for non-compliance with the provisions of this Act, ” he said.
Omotayo said it was time to start the implementation of the law in view of the current large scale fraud going on in the banking sector.
“So, now is the time to start implementation of this law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in order to stop this type of experience as shown in Emefieles’ case where an individual and his cohorts took a lion’s share from the wealth belonging to the masses of this great country.
“It is interesting to note that towards the concluding part of the Act, Section 12(1) provides that: “The provisions of this Act shall apply to the Comptroller-General, Deputy Comptroller-General, Assistant Comptroller-General, Chief Collector, Principal Collector, Collector and other officer, staff or employee of the Nigerian Customs Service as they apply to a Chief Executive or an employee of a Bank.”
“This section clearly stated that this law equally applies to all officials of the Nigerian Customs Service, ” he said.
The organisation, therefore, demanded that: “Bank Employees etc. (Declaration of Assets) Act 1986, vests in your office the supervision for compliance with the Act.
“That the SGF makes a pronouncement for immediate compliance with this law by the affected officials.
“We are not aware that this law has been revoked and ignorance of the law is not excuse for the affected officials.
“We, therefore, urge the SGF to perform your statutory duty in this regard, without imposing on us the stress of approaching the court for an Order of Mandamus that you perform your statutory duty in the interest of the masses of this country.”