By Segun Joseph
Worried by the growing incidences of frauds and forgeries in banks involving permanent and casual staff, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has released a reviewed “operational guidelines for blacklisting” in the industry clarify the process of rendering returns for the purpose.
According to a letter to all banks with reference BSD/DIR/GEN/LAB/09/033, dated June 28, 2016, signed by Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, Director of Banking Supervision, said the guidelines was issued “following the spate of petitions for the reversal of blacklisted staff by banks due to failure to comply with the process
of investigation and granting of fair hearing to erring staff before forwarding their names for blacklisting.”
The guidelines, she said, “provide the procedures for forwarding names to the CBN for inclusion in the register of terminated, dismissed or convicted staff of banks and other financial institutions on the
grounds of fraud, forgery and dishonesty.”The need to review the guidelines may not be unrelated to the spiraling growth in the number of fraud cases reported to the regulators (CBN and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation- NDIC)by Deposit Money Banks over the years.
In the six years between 2010 and last year for example, Independent notes that 32,383 (except for unavailable 2010 figure) case of fraud involving N133.161 billion has been reported by banks, with actual loss suffered put at N35.391 billion or 26.57 per cent of total. The reported loss for 2010 stood at N21.29 billion, rising to N28.4 billion from 2,356 cases the following year, before it dropped to
N18.05 billion from 3,380 cases by 20112. In 2013, the amount again rose to N21.79 billion, just as number of cases increased to 3,756 and 10,612 cases, valued at N25.61 billion by 2014. Last year, the
incidences of fraud in banks, according to NDIC’s 2015 annual report rose by 15.71 per cent to 12,279 cases, while the amount involved fell by 29.63 per cent to N18.021 billion.
Actual loss, which fell from N11.68 billion in 2010 to N4.07 billion the following year, increased to N6.19 billion in 2014 and then N3.02 billion last year.
Over the years, there has been increase in the number of internet banking, ATM/Card related fraud cases, just as bank staff involvement. The NDIC report noted for example that 425 of actual losses “were
attributed to staff. This represents a decrease from 465 in 2014… The highest percentage of frauds and forgeries cases of 38.59 per cent was perpetrated by temporary staff.”
In its preamble to the reviewed guideline, the CBN said it had been “inundated with petitions for the reversal of names from the “blackbook” (emanating) from failure by the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs)
to comply with the process of thorough investigation and granting of fair hearing to erring staff before a final decision is taken to either dismiss or terminate the employment of such staff.”
The document, it continued, is “pursuant to the powers granted under “Banks and Other Financial Institutions and Central Bank of Nigeria Acts,” these guidelines are issued to provide a guide to the procedure for forwarding names to the Secretary of the Bankers’ Committee for
inclusion in the Register of Terminated, Dismissed or Convicted staff of Banks and Other Financial Institutions on the grounds of fraud and dishonesty. It had been observed that details of cases rendered in the related returns were no longer limited to cases of fraud and forgeries as originally intended, but had been erroneously extended to include cases such as lateness to work, abandonment of duty,etc.”
The inclusion of these other cases, the CBN further noted, “negates the intent and basis for blacklisting. “Blacklisting” is in furtherance to the requirements and provisions of Section 48, sub-section 4 of BOFIA CAP B3, LFN 2004 which states: “Any person whose appointment with a bank has been terminated or who has been dismissed for reasons of fraud, dishonesty or convicted for an offenceinvolving dishonesty or fraud shall not be employed by any bank in Nigeria”.