By Bayo Bernard
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has failed to intervene on the allegation of money laundry in which two officials of Bankers Warehouse are currently being held by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The decisionby apex bank to keep mum over the matter, the magazine learned may not be unconnected with ongoing EFCC investigations to unravel the source of the cash and suspicion held by the anti- graft body that the seized is meant for campaign purposes.
Two officials of BW were arrested last Thursday at the AkanuIbiam International Airport by EFCC after $2.8m were found in their possession.
While the anti-graft agency claimed that it was a case of money laundry, the Bankers Warehouse said the two employees were on legitimate official duties.
Union Bank Plc has claimed ownership of the huge foreign currency demanding that the CBN intervene on the issue so that the cash can be released.
On its part the EFCC has also written a letter to the apex bank to clarity grey areas concerning the cash haul.
In a letter signed by BW Head of Operations, Dr Lawrence Ijebor, the firm said it was wrong for EFCC to confiscate and arrest its employees, knowing they were on legitimate duty.
Condemning EFCC’s action BW demanded that the CBN acted quickly to end the confusion and stop further harassment of its staff by security agencies particularly the EFCC.
“We seek your intervention as our regulator to address this issue of constant harassment of our staff by security agencies which constitutes a risk that could threaten the lives and safety of our employee and the cargo they are tasked with conveying,” BW said in the letter to CBN governor Godwin Emefiele.
Union Bank on its part also deplored the action of EFCC because” movement of cash across states is routine for all banks. Bankers Warehouse is licensed by CBN to provide Cash-in-Transit-services.”
But a CBN source told the magazine on Monday that the apex bank was being careful on how to respond to the matter.
The source who spoke in confidence because he was not authorized to speak on the issue said there” is an unofficial communication between the apex bank and EFCC, the CBN will not make any pronouncement on the matter that EFCC is already investigating.”
It was also learned from EFCC source that the huge cash was seized because of suspicion on the part of EFCC that it was meant for political purpose.
There’s a squeeze on political funding by the present government ahead of 2019 general elections and political actors are desperate on moving cash around, the source said.
According to him “It’s very difficult to transfer huge cash nowadays because of the fear that such money will be tracked. So politicians are looking for other ways to move money to fund the ongoing political campaigns across the country.”
Though the magazine cannot ascertain whether the seized cash was meant for political purpose, routine movement of cash is a common thing across the world financial system.