The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is not eager to make arrests of suspected cash hoarders, despite scarcity of the new N200, N500 and N1,000 across the country.
“I think public servants out there or some businessmen with questionable character still have these funds out there,” the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, said on Wednesday.
He however stressed that the law allows for anyone with the old notes in their possession to deposit them with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at any time in the future.
“Throughout this exercise, from October 2022 to date, we have not arrested anybody. We have not raised any question regarding who deposited what, where and how because we’re determined not to cause too much panic within the system.
“One of the cardinal objectives of the policy is to ensure that monies are returned to the banking system, and that is why we are holding on; we’re not eager to start that. Facts cannot change for things that are already within the financial institutions,” he said.
According to Bawa, the new currency is easier to track using the serial numbers on the banknotes as well as the locations to which they have been distributed across the country.
He further stated that the anti-graft agency has an added responsibility in its eventual recovery of all funds which are allegedly being used for vote-buying.
“We can actually trace and see whether this currency is genuine currency gotten from ATMs across the country, or whether somebody somewhere used them in bulk and gave the politicians the money,” the EFCC boss said.
“One of the problems that we’re having is that the bankers are actually sabotaging the equitable distribution of these new naira notes.
“We are working on all of that and we’re sure that at the end of the day, we’re going to be successful, more than any other time, but this time around, because of this issue of new naira notes that we have across the country in circulation.”