Check and balances to stop corruption, money laundry in Nigeria

.. Banking Regulations: Why do Nigerians adopt popular culture of the US but not the rules ?

By Primus Igboaka, Ph.D.

A friend went to a major bank in Cleveland to deposit money to his son’s account. The son  is in college and  running short of cash, he sent an SOS to his Dad for rescue.

Dad went to ATM and withdraw the minimum of $500 allowed per transaction. In some banks, the minimum is $200. After withdrawing the money, he drove to his son’s bank to deposit the money.
After few minutes waiting, he walked the “long line”  – just five to six customers in front of him to the the teller. As he walked to the teller, the following dialogue ensured:
Customer: please, here is my deposit form. I want to deposit this cash to an account.
Teller: Whose account?

Customer: My son.

Teller: Sir, we don’t accept cash….do you have account with us.

Customer: No…I do not bank with you
…I bank with H…

Teller: We do not accept cash unless it is your account or you bank with us. Do you have account with us?

Customer: But my bank accepts cash… but I have not done transaction of cash of this amount.

Teller: Do you have check or credit card …if you don’t, you could walk  to convenient shop across the street …pointing at the direction to buy a Money Order.  You could use cash and buy money order and come back to make the deposit with the Money Order.

Customer: Ma….this is ridiculous….because this is my first experience to hear that a bank of your status and size do not accept cash from customers….who do not have accounts with your bank.

As the dialogue went on, the bank supervisor came forward to the desk.

Supervisor: Sorry about this sir… is our policy not to accept cash….it is a Fed. law.  The violation of this regulation put us into trouble last year with the Feds….and we cannot violate the Financial Regulations or the Regulators will be all over us.

Customer: I understand….but since when did this rule take efeffect, and why your bank…..because i know some do allow customers who have no bank account with your bank to deposit money into account without these interrogations.

Supervisor: Not our bank. Sorry sir….if you have check….just pay it into the account…..with the check.

Customer: Yes….I will write and make the deposit with a check. I am aware that banks do limit amount to $10, 000 a person can deposit with check and such transactions must be bank to bank transaction.

The customer writes the check and the transaction was complete.

Why this narrative? It pains to read in the media billions of Naira that some politicians and office holders are said to take from the common wealth and deposited in their  private accounts. Yesterday was news story of return of millions from one single person from misappropriated Dasuki gate money. As i write another “403 million” from another political office holder was returned. You wonder where are our regulators, our banking  laws and order in our country. Asking about conscience of these corrupt souls is altogether a different matter.

However, it is not too late for forthright Nigerians especially bankers to come aboard….come forward to save the nation and the people …Nigerians are suffering from the massive corruption that has ripped off our nation.

It boils down to every Nigerians especially those in the banking sector ensuring that banking rules and regulations are adhered to.
Oil is gradually drying up. Money Nigeria made in the good old years when oil was precious commodity and fetched the money that would have enriched Nigerians was used to cushion off hard times – regrettably, all those wealth are in private accounts or laundered overseas into private accounts.

While Buhari engages foreign governments to recover such huge money in private overseas account; our bankers and banking institutions could show that they care for the plight of suffering Nigerians by either providing leads to  billions of stolen Naira that are in private accounts of corrupt politicians and office holders.
If all the rules are not to be adhered, bankers have moral  obligation to stop the suffering of Nigerians…their fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers. Part of that obligation is to refuse accepting illegitimate bank deposits. Furthermore, they could be whistle blowers to federal government when they witness outrageous deposits or money deposited by individual that has no sources of income as in business or day jobs. These are individuals who have no justification how they earned the money they are stealing and laundering in millions and billions of dollars and Naira. Buhari cannot be the president to see or monitor these burglaries of our common wealth or repeated  assaults by our corrupt politicians and office holders  on our nation or on us. We do not need the war on corruption to know what is right or wrong – what to do to save Nigeria from going bankrupt now oil is not booming and oil prices on international market is not favourable to Nigeria’s future economic development.

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