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Sterling Bank Staff Arrested for New Naira Hoarding

Officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have discovered N6 million of the new naira notes hoarded in Sterling Bank Plc, Ado Ekiti branch on Bank Road, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State, having received the funds for over two weeks.

In a trending video on social media, a man who identified himself as Oluwole Owoeye, a deputy director of CBN, while monitoring the distribution of the new naira notes in the state, was seen questioning bank officials as to why they have not uploaded the funds into their Automated Teller Machines, (ATMs), despite having six of the machines in place.

He explained that the distribution of the new naira notes was important to the state’s economic system, emphasizing that failure to upload the funds into the ATMs was unacceptable.

The CBN director also announced a fine of N1 million for each day the fund was in the bank’s custody.

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The CBN official said, “I am currently at Sterling Bank, on Bank Road as part of the new naira notes monitoring compliance with the guidelines by CBN.

They have N6 million, which they collected from the bank for almost two weeks, they have not disbursed any. They said they are yet to configure their ATMs, I do not know why that and I have brought attention to the penalty clause of N1 million per day, because they have five ATMs here, they have no reason for keeping this money.

“The zonal service manager, Tunde Onipede promised that by 10:00am latest tomorrow (Monday), because I told him by latest 10:00 am I’ll be here and I want to see the machine dispensing this money.

“What is the name again? Olumide Owolabi (Service Manager, Ado) & Motunrayo Babayele. My name is Oluwole Owoeye and I am a deputy director of CBN.”

It will be recalled that the governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, has claimed that commercial banks are deliberately limiting the number of new notes they are disbursing to customers, while some politicians have accused the CBN of deliberately slowing down the circulation of the new notes because of political reasons.

The deputy director, banking supervision department, CBN Lagos, Kayode Makinde, while addressing journalists in Abeokuta, Ogun State last week Tuesday, had told the public to blame the commercial banks over the scarcity of the new notes, saying the apex bank had done its part.

According to the CBN senior staffer: “This is the third week of ensuring strict implementation of our directive as regards the issuance of new notes. We have banks, agents and super agents circulate new notes in the economy. The experience has been mixed, we saw some trying to hoard new notes, we compelled them to upload into ATM terminals, and others had poor cash management.

“From our experience, CBN should not be blamed but commercial banks for scarcity. We caught some of them, with new notes in their vault, and we compelled them to upload them to their machines. We told them that instead of trying to ration, upload the ones they have and contact your central cash management unit which has direct access to CBN for more.

“We came across instances of sabotage on the part of operators, we will take the case up and they will be dealt with appropriately.

“We came across one of them that couldn’t account for almost four million naira of new notes and appropriate sanction will be placed on them.”