Nigerians in the banking sector are in palpable fears as the June 1, 2021 deadline set by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for bankers to fill asset declaration form lapsed.
It would be recalled that the EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, had after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on March 16, 2021, declared that, by June 1, he would be demanding the asset declaration forms of bankers.
The move, according to him, was part of measures to enforce the provisions of the Bank Employees, Etc. (Declaration of Assets) Act 1986.
The Continental reports that Section 1 of the Act makes it mandatory for every employee of a Bank to make full disclosure of assets upon employment, and annually in subsequent years.
The penalty for violation of the Act, as spelt out in section 7(2), includes imprisonment for a term of ten years:
“Any employee guilty of an offence under subsection (1) of this Section shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for ten years and shall, in addition, forfeit the excess assets or its equivalent in money to the Federal Government”.
This has generated heated debates across the country and especially on social media as some questioned the powers of the EFCC to issue the notice, while others applauded the move, saying it was long overdue.
“All we are saying is that come June 1, we are going to be demanding for it (assets declaration forms). We want to look at it vis-à-vis other information that we have. It is something that as an institution we have resolved to do. Of course, we expect stiff resistance, but we are determined,” he said.
But what will EFCC do after June 1? Will it go all out or perhaps offer errant bankers another window of grace? Only time will tell!