The House of Representatives passed a bill on second reading to force workers in the banking, insurance and pension sectors to declare their assets.
The proposed law will also prohibit staff members of banks and other financial institutions from managing accounts off the coast of Nigeria. Their spouses and children can also be mandated to declare their assets when a bill currently in the House becomes law.
In addition, the Federation Government Secretary would also be stripped of the responsibility of keeping records of assets declared by the Nigerian Customs Service and bank employees, and transferring them to the relevant regulator of each industry.
The legislator representing the federal constituency of Iseyin / Itesiwaju / Kajola / Iwajowa in the state of Oyo, Mr. Shina Peller, made these proposals in the Bill 2021 on bank employees etc.
The legislation is titled “A Bill to Amend the Law on Bank Employees, etc.” (declaration of assets) CAP. B1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 to reflect the prevailing situation in the country. ‘
Leading the debate on the bill, Peller recalled that the Bank Employees Act (Declaration of Assets) CAP B1 Laws of the Federation of 2004 was enacted on September 26, 1986 by the military regime.
He noted that the law should provide for the declaration of assets by employees of banks operating in Nigeria and empower the president to extend its application to other categories of people.
The lawmaker said the law aims to monitor the activities of bank employees and customs officials to ensure that their lifestyle reflects their income and to deter them from engaging in corrupt practices.
Peller said in part: “The law only applies to employees of banks and customs services. However, the bill seeks to extend the application of the law to employees of other financial institutions which have become key players in the Nigerian financial sector over the years, namely pension fund agencies, pension companies, insurance, securities brokers, etc.
“In the law, it is the secretary of the government of the Federation who is responsible for keeping the asset declaration forms completed by bank and customs employees. Then, the Secretary of the Government of the Federation combines the functions of current Head of Service of the Federation and Secretary of the Government of the Federation.
“It is doubtful that the asset declaration registers were kept as prescribed by law. The amendment bill seeks to transfer this responsibility to the appropriate regulatory body of the financial institution to which the relevant staff belong, i.e. the Central Bank of Nigeria, for bank employees; (National) Pensions Commission for employees of pension fund administrators; Security and foreign exchange commission for stockbrokers, etc.
He added: “It was also observed that the main law does not prohibit bank employees from having accounts abroad. This omission can be exploited. The amending bill expressly prohibits bank employees from operating accounts abroad.
Peller noted that with the entry into force of the 1999 Constitution, all public officials, including employees of the Nigeria Customs Service, must report their assets to the Code of Conduct Office.
“It would amount to duplication if the Nigerian Customs Service employees always declared their assets to the Secretary of the Federation Government, as prescribed by the main law. This amending bill corrects this anomaly by removing customs officials from employees to whom the law applies, ”he said.
The legislator also clarified that under the law, only the assets of the bank employees concerned must be declared in the form. He said the law does not apply to the filer’s spouse and unmarried children under 18.
“This is another loophole in the law that can be exploited. To solve this problem, the bill makes an asset declaration by filers to include the assets of their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 18, ”he said.
The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, said earlier on March 16, 2021 that the commission would require bankers’ asset declaration forms from June 1.
Bawa said the decision complied with the provisions of the Bank Employees Declaration of Asset Act.
However, employees at the Deposit Money Bank said the EFCC should instead focus its asset reporting campaign on CEOs of banks and other government agencies.
Reacting to Bawa’s advice, the bankers, under the auspices of the National Union of Employees of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, said the EFCC should reconsider its position.
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