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Top bankers arrested in Nigerian currency fraud case.

Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested five senior central bank officials and held 16 commercial bank employees for involvement in an alleged $33 million currency fraud.

According to the EFCC website, the suspects stole 'tonnes of defaced Naira notes' meant to be destroyed, by replacing them with 'newspapers neatly cut to Naira sizes'.

"All the suspects who are currently in the custody of the EFCC are now ruing the day they literally allowed greed and craze for materialism to becloud their sense of judgment and responsibility," the EFCC statement read.

It added that the fraud, which is suspected to have carried on for years, "is partly to blame for the failure of government monetary policy over the years as currency mop up exercises by the apex bank failed to check the inflationary pressure on the economy."

The arrested CBN officials, from the Ibadan CBN branch, are part of the Briquetting Panel tasked with auditing and destroying old Naira notes sent in to be exchanged by commercial banks. The EFCC said that the commercial bank exchanging old for new currency at this branch are Zenith Bank, FCMB, Wema Bank, Access Bank, First Bank, Skye Bank, Ecobank and Sterling Bank-but it is unclear from its statement which banks employed the workers involved in the currency scam.

"A five count charge awaits the suspects as they prepare to face the wrath of the law," the EFCC said.

President Muhammudu Buhari took office just days ago, pledging to wipe out widespread corruption, but the arrests actually occurred before his swearing-in ceremony, the BBC reports.

The suspects will make their first court appearances at Ibadan's federal court today, 2 June 2015.

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Publication:CPI Financial
Date:Jun 2, 2015
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