Fidelity Bank Plc has defended the $115 million allegedly lodged in the bank by the embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, saying it complied with the extant regulations on suspicious transaction reporting.
Financial institutions are required by the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Regulations, 2013 (as amended), to forward their AML/CFT Compliance Manual to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for off-site review of the document as well as carry out enhanced customer due diligence for high risk customers and effective Know Your Customer (KYC) processes.
The AML/CFT Regulations, 2013 (as amended) also requires financial institutions to maintain all necessary records on transactions, both domestic and international, for at least five years after completion of the transactions or such longer period as may be required by the CBN and Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU). This rule applies regardless of whether the account or business relationship is on-going or has been terminated.
Financial institutions are also expected to maintain records of the identification data, accounts files and business correspondence for at least five years after the termination of an account or business relationship or such longer period as may be required by the CBN and NFIU on a timely basis.
A statement signed by Fidelity Bank’s management said the transactions were duly reported as required by the regulators and that ‘it is cooperating fully with the authorities on the investigation’.
The statement reads in part: “Our attention has been drawn to reports in the media on investigations into transactions undertaken by the Bank in the normal course of business in 2015. The transactions are now the subject matter of investigations by the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“We assure our numerous stakeholders, including our customers that we are working assiduously towards a quick resolution of the issues”.
It would be recalled that operatives of the EFCC had arrested the bank’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo, and some officials for allegedly receiving $115 million from Mrs. Alison-Madueke.
The EFCC also arrested the bank’s Head of Operations, Martins Izuogbe, for his role in the alleged scam, which the anti-graft agency described as unprecedented.
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