The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reiterated that employee(s) in any financial institutions under its regulation that was terminated, dismissed or convicted on the grounds of fraud, forgery and dishonesty would be blacklisted from taking up any other responsibility in the industry.
It stressed that blacklisting is in furtherance to the requirements and provisions of Section 48, sub-section 4 of Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) CAP B3, LFN 2004 which states: “Any person whose appointment with a bank has been terminated or who has been dismissed for reasons of fraud, dishonesty or convicted for an offence involving dishonesty or fraud shall not be employed by any bank in Nigeria.”
But, the central bank revealed that it observed that details of cases rendered in the related returns were no longer limited to cases of fraud and forgeries as originally intended, “but had been erroneously extended to include cases such as lateness to work, abandonment of duty, etc.”
“The inclusion of these other cases negates the intent and basis for blacklisting,” it stated.
The central bank gave the warning in its “Review of Operational Guidelines for Blacklisting,” to the industry, signed by its Director, Banking Supervision, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, a copy of which was posted on its website.
However, the banking sector regulator stated that the reviewed guidelines was as a result of the spate of petitions for the reversal of blacklisted staff by banks due to failure to comply with the process of investigation and granting of fair hearing to erring staff before forwarding their names for blacklisting.
“Trust is the cornerstone upon which banking business is conducted. Any act of malfeasance taken by a bank or its staff that would erode the trust of the public is therefore of prime concern to the regulators and other stakeholders,
“Due to the nature of banking operations, banks are frequent targets for frauds from within and outside the system. Despite the various risk management policies and internal control processes/procedures that have been put in place to mitigate against such incidents, the occurrence and attempts of fraud have not been abated in the banking system as evidenced by the monthly returns on fraud and forgeries submitted by the banks to the CBN.
“Risk management systems and processes are only as good as the people that operate them, it is therefore imperative that only persons of integrity and proven character are employed and retained in the financial industry,” it added.
Thus the CBN revealed that it maintains a register called the “blackbook,” containing names and details of such staff that were dismissed or terminated, in line with Section 48 (4) of BOFIA 2004.
Every individual whose name is listed in the “blackbook” is barred from holding any employment within the financial system in Nigeria.
In order for someone to be blacklisted, “A disciplinary committee must have conducted a thorough investigation. The disciplinary committee must have established that the staff involved had committed an act of fraud and dishonesty. The staff must have been granted fair hearing through the disciplinary committee. The decision of the committee must be communicated to the staff involved.”
Explaining the fair hearing process, the central bank stated that “upon verification of the existence of grounds for blacklisting, the financial institution shall notify the staff in writing, informing him that: a complaint for blacklisting has been filed against him, stating the grounds for such and the consequences of being blacklisted; the staff must be given the opportunity to present documentary or verbal testimony that may affect the decision; the final decision of the disciplinary committee must be communicated to the staff.”