The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) confirmed that the federal government task force issued a notice to re-arrest for prosecution the bank executives who fled the country in the middle of the investigation over the banking malpractices.
Some of the accused bank executives, who leave the country some years ago, were said to have sneaked back into the country in the hope that their prosecution might have been terminated or that investigations into their alleged criminal acts had ended.
NDIC stated that the task force would go after the absconded suspects and bringing them back will serve as a warning to other bank offenders.
B.A. Taribo who is the Director of Legal Department(NDIC) said: “The task force would leave no stone unturned to ensure that erring bank offenders are apprehended and prosecuted,”
The task force had at its 38th meeting held on 13th March, 2017 reviewed some pending investigations by the Police Financial Malpractices Investigation Unit (FMIU) under the Failed Banks Act comprising 17 cases involving 10 closed Microfinance Banks (MFBs) in which 15 former directors of the MFBs were involved.
They also reviewed two cases of closed commercial banks involving their former directors.
According to NDIC, one of the closed commercial banks cases currently under prosecution involved erstwhile directors of the closed Gulf Bank of Nigeria Plc, who were under trial over banking malpractices involving N15.1 billion of depositors’ funds.
They also reviewed about 16 criminal cases being prosecuted under the Failed Banks Act in which the prosecution had been paused due to the escape of the accused persons in the country.
NDIC also said that the sureties of the absconded suspects had also vanished.
The Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act 1994 was promulgated to recover debts owed to failed banks, which had remained outstanding as at the date the banks were closed or declared failed and to prosecute directors and officers of licensed banks who had committed banking malpractices.
In July 1995, the Inspector General of Police established a special Police unit called the Failed Banks Inquiry to assist the NDIC and the Central Bank of Nigeria implement the criminal aspects of the Failed Banks Act through investigation of criminal complaints referred to the Unit by the Regulatory Authorities.
On the 28th of December 1998, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice constituted the Task Force on Implementation of the Failed Banks Act. The objective of the task force was to co-ordinate the different agencies involved in the implementation of the criminal aspects of the Failed Banks Act in order to achieve heightened police investigation and legal officers/ private legal practitioners’ prosecution of suspects under the Failed Banks Act.
The members of the task force comprised the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation as Chairman; the Federal Ministry of Justice represented by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation; the Central Bank of Nigeria; the Failed Banks Inquiry (now Financial Malpractices Investigation Unit); the Special Fraud Unit of the Police; and subsequently, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The task force also reviewed the police investigation of suspects and the prosecution of accused persons by state counsel and private legal practitioners issued with the fiat of the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation under the Failed Banks Act.