This is the question on the lips of many players in the financial industry after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) came out yesterday to say that it has uncovered an attempt by some unknown persons to defraud the bank.
The CBN did not give much detail about the attempt other than to say some staff involved in the suspicious transaction has been suspended while investigations have commenced.
However, the CBN says the suspension of the affected staff is not an indication that the concerned staff are guilty but to ensure that investigators have the freedom to access all necessary files needed for their investigation.
The CBN also says that the relevant authorities, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have been duly informed about the attempt to defraud the bank. The apex bank did not disclose how much was involved in this latest attempt to break into its vaults but it is likely to be in billions.
The central bank manages Nigeria’s more than $27 billion external reserves and has a balance sheet size of more than N6 trillion, which makes it a very attractive target for criminals.
In June 2015, six top staff of the CBN and some staff of commercial banks were arraigned by the EFCC in connection with an N8 billion fraud involving the theft and recirculation of defaced and mutilated currency notes.
Recently, President Buhari also accused some unnamed CBN directors of setting up Bureau De Change’s (BDC) through which they siphon foreign exchange from the apex bank at the official rate to sell in the black market. However, since the allegation was made, no CBN director has been sacked or arrested over their alleged illegal dealing in the nation’s foreign currency holdings.
Analysts have noted that the CBN may have to do a thorough review of the profiles of its existing staff to ensure that it has not recruited moles that have become ready tools in the hands of criminals to raid the bank’s juicy vaults.
But for now, Nigerians are waiting patiently to see the CBN unveil the die-hard criminals trying to raid its very juicy vaults.