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Labour alleges political undertones in arrest of banks’ staff

By BABAJIDE KOMOLAFE & VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG

ORGANISED labour in the nation’s financial sector said, yesterday, that preliminary information concerning the recent clampdown on senior bankers by the Department of State Services, DSS, over alleged fraudulent practices, pointed to political undertones.

Under the aegis of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, ASSBIFI, labour said it would not want to make any hasty statement, since it was gathering information on the issue.

President of ASSBIFI, Mr. Sunday Salako, told Vanguard: “We are aware of the issue and we are studying the development. We do not want to make hasty statement.

“There are strong allegations that it has to do with politics. If it is, we will not make comment. But if it bothers on corporate governance and unethical practice, after thorough investigation, we will make a formal statement.”

Meanwhile, the Director of Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Ugo Okoroafor, said he was not aware of the development.

When contacted about the involvement of the CBN in the DSS clampdown, Okoroafor said he would have to investigate before he can comment on the matter.

Investigation revealed that the arrest of the banks’ staff might have been carried out without the knowledge of the CBN.

A top official of one of the affected banks, who did not want his name mentioned, told Vanguard: “The arrests were carried out silently. The arrest was not necessary at all.

“They could have got the information they wanted without arresting anybody. The information they need is contained in what the banks submit to the Nigeria Financial Intelligent Unit, NFIU, and so they could have contacted the NFIU for these information.”

Vanguard investigations confirm that the DSS is yet to release the arrested bankers and is yet to charge them for any offence.


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