ABOUT 20 operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Co4mmission (EFCC), on Friday, stormed the Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos head office of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited.
The bank, which confirmed the development in a statement, did not state why the EFCC agents visited the financial institution.
“We can confirm that law enforcement officials entered our head office building on 14th September, 2018. We are clear there was no basis for this entry, and the law enforcement officials left the building shortly afterwards,” the statement explained.
However, two top management staff of the bank who spoke on condition of anonymity said although they were yet to know why the operatives came to the bank, there were insinuations that it had to do with the recent fine slammed on the lender by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Standard Chartered Bank and three other banks were recently fined a total of N5.87 billion by the CBN for their violation of extant laws and regulations of the country, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006.
They were accused of illegally repatriating funds on behalf of MTN Nigeria and the telecoms company was directed to immediately refund $8,134,312,397.63 to the coffers of the bank.
Standard Chartered got the highest fine of N2,470,604,767.13 and the CBN has since debited the bank.
The anti-graft agency, however, said the officers who raided the bank acted without authorisation.
A statement from its spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said the errant officers would be sanctioned.
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“Following repeated media enquiries regarding a purported raid on the head office of the Standard Chartered Bank today, September 14, by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the commission is constrained to state that there was no raid on the bank by its officers.
“The raid by operatives purportedly wearing the jackets of the commission might have been the handiwork of errant officers who acted without authorisation.
“The action is in flagrant violation of the standard operation procedures of the commission as it is not the style of the EFCC to openly raid the offices of banks and other financial institutions.
“Officials of such institutions who are wanted by the commission are usually invited for questioning after discreet investigation. Over the years, banks have been cooperative in releasing their officers to the commission for questioning.
“The commission will investigate the circumstances leading to this illegal raid by errant officers and those found culpable would be subjected to the internal disciplinary mechanism of the commission.
“EFCC again reassures Nigerians that it is an agency which adheres strictly to the rule of law and will, as much as possible, avoid draconian measures in its fight against corruption,” the statement read.