By Levinus Nwabughiogu
House of Representatives has underscored the need to amend the asset declaration act to include every bank employee, their spouse, and children of official age.
Briefing Journalists Tuesday, the Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes, Ibrahim Abdullahi Dutse on the Bank Employees, etc (declaration of assets) amendment bill 2021 said that the bill needed to be amended to reflect that current realities.
He said that the overall objective of the legislative proposal was to check the excesses of not only bank employees but, financial institutions in general to stem the rising tide of sharp practices in the financial sector.
The lawmaker said that the public hearing on the bill will come up on February 24, 2022.
He said: You may be aware that on Tuesday, 29 June, 2021, the House of Representatives caused a debate on the basic principles of the Bill for Act to Amend the Bank Employees Etc.
“(Declaration of Asset) Act Chapter 81 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to reflect the Prevailing Situation in the Country and for Related Matters.
“The Bill was thereafter, passed for Second Reading and referred to the Committee on Financial Crimes for further legislative actions.
“The Amendment Bill which is sponsored by Hon. Abiola Shina Pellar seeks to basically amend or review the existing Act to conform to current realities in the country. It is worthy of note that the Act was promulgated under the military era and as such, carries with it, some elements of that regime, hence the significance of this Amendment.
“The overall objective of the legislative proposal is to check the excesses of not only bank employees but, financial institutions in general. You will agree with me that in modern times, there has been a surge in the establishment of various forms of financial institutions in our society, in comparison with what was obtainable in the 1960s and even 1980s when financial institutions in Nigeria were mostly banks. Today, we have a proliferation of insurance companies, mortgage banks, Pension Fund Administrators and even lending organizations etc. who equally require supervision like banks.
“Accordingly, Clause 1, sub-clause (1) of the Bill seeks to compel employees of a bank to immediately declare their assets including those of their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 18 years.
“The Bill also amends the existing legislation by inserting a new Clause which attempts to ban bank employees from maintaining and operating personal bank account in any country outside Nigeria.
“Clause 3 of the Bill also seeks to mandate the President to direct by a published instrument
in the federal gazette informing the application of provisions of the Act to other financial institutions.
“Thus, the Bill defines other financial institutions to include any individual, body, and association ort group of persons whether corporate or incorporated other than banks licensed in accordance with relevant laws which carries business of a discount house, finance company and money brokerage. For this reason, the proposed legislation aims to expand the application of the Bill to other financial institutions such as Pension Fund Administrators, Insurance and Stock Brokers, and such other institutions as defined therein. In conclusion, the Bill provides a definition of some terms used and cites the short title as, Bank Employees Etc. (Declaration of Assets)(Amendment) Bill, 2021.”