Ori Adeyemo, a forensic accountant and Managing Consultant of Forensic Consulting said the problem of Nigerian banking industry is Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi the Governor of Central Bank.
Can we meet you and how long have you been in your profession?
My name is Ori Adeyemo, I have been into Forensic Accounting Consultancy since 1997, but I got into it full time and professionally in 2006. I am aware that the financial institution in Nigeria is full of fraud. Even the Capital market, Insurance and other institutions are laced with fraud. But what really catches my fancy is the banking industry and that’s what affects most Nigerians and there’s nobody or an individual that at one point or the other has not go to do with the banking industry. It’s basically the people that made me focus more on the banking industry and more especially when we have a country with a depressed economy like Nigeria. Apart from the common Nigerians, what propels you in the profession?
I am aware some sort of people called the Cabal are making so much money from the savings of the customers and they call it profit while the customers are dying one by one, which was what prompted my investigations to know why the customers’ companies are dying one by one and the banks are busy building skyscrapers here and there with customers hard earned stolen money, driving the best cars, wearing the best suits and they now employ those that don’t really know anything about banking to head the institutions. I tell you, the smallest bank in South Africa is bigger than the number one rated bank in Nigeria in so many ways from operations, ethics, conduct and services. However, the declared income over there is nothing compared to the recorded generated profit declared by the smallest bank in Nigeria here. So, couple of years ago the South Africa government asked Nigerian banks to come and set up their branches in South Africa, but they all ran away from the offer because all the fraud they are doing in Nigeria and getting away would not be possible because they are organized and well structured not to allow such things to happen in their country. As at today, I have over four hundred cases with the Nigerian banks in the court of law now. What do you think prompted the increasing fraud in the Banking industry?
The problem in the Nigerian banking industry is the activities of corrupt people in CBN and NDIC, including the CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who is the master of the game. His predecessor, Mr. Charles Soludo turned the place upside down and when Sanusi, came because of the razzmatazz, many thought he would do better, it is all eye service, and he eventually turned to be a joker. Apart from the regulatory issue, we have other factors militating against the growth of the banking industry in Nigeria, let me be blunt with you, the banking industry in Nigeria lacks human capital, and they don’t have competent hands, they just look good in their designers suits, most of them are not professional bankers.But unfortunately, most of the professional bankers have been sent packing during the consolidation of 2005 and 2006. How this did happen, the new generation of bankers were able to hijack the system, thus frustrating the experienced hands in the industry. They preferred to bring in someone, who just went for a crash programme for three months in Harvard University to take over the business, claiming that he’s coming with a wealth of experience simply because he’s coming from a highly rated university. The banking industry lacks human capital, which is very dangerous and most of them don’t even know what they are doing at all. I have so much petitions against the CBN governor, just like the cancellation of ceiling of lending rates, which was not a good policy statement by Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Based on your work on forensic accounting, what’s the status of your relationship with the banks and the CBN?
Let me start with the issue of forensic accounting in Nigeria, as I said earlier, I have been doing this business for long, which I call fraud investigation in a plain language. In ICAN, they only teach accounting and accounts investigations, but Forensic Accounting is a no-holds-bared area, where you can use any legal skill and means to investigate and get to a conclusion. And, when you say you are a forensic accountant, your matter must end up in the court of law. When you are doing the job, one thing that must be on your mind is the clear picture that this matter you are investigating will and must end up in court using all your experiences to get to the bottom of the matter. It’s different from these accounting and auditing process that they teach in ICAN. My relationship with the CBN has never been smooth because, CBN as I told you earlier, on is made up of crooks and fraudsters. Many of the CBN staffers are on the payroll of the banks, and they have been covering the fraud operations of these banks over the years. Even, I have a petition against the CBN ON industry policy on retail cash collection and lodgment. Like I said, I have over 400 cases with banks, and this wouldn’t have been so if the CBN is doing the right thing. In the CBN monitory policy, Section C, 246 states that it is the statutory duty of the bank to declare the bank’s statement of account on a monthly basis and that statement must show the CTO rate and the interest rate just on the face of the statement account. Now, section C 24G states that the statutory department of each bank shall continue to have the responsibility of cross checking the CTO charge on the customers account and if there’s any complaint, the investigation department will then come in to check whatever goes wrong, and this must be done within 14 days of such complain by the customers in order to report the excess charges or other entitlement found during the investigations. And when the banks are returning such money, it’s expected to return it to the customers with due interest at the CBN monitory rate, then the bank must do a letter of apology to such customer and the bank will also do another letter reporting itself to the CBN, by saying these are the excess charges made on such customer’s account because the banks always give excess return to CBN. It’s proper for the banks to state clearly what they have found out about the excess charges and the apology letter sent to the customer and do the right thing by returning the customer’s money with due interest and that clause still states that failure by the bank to return such excess charges will make the bank liable to pay a penalty of 100 percent of the excess bank charges to the customer. Is there any sanction from the CBN to the bank after the payment to such customer?
Well, what i‘am interested is in is the fact that the customer gets paid what he or she deserves, and on sanction by CBN they know how they have been covering frauds for each other. But when you go to BOFIA Section 60, Sub-section1, I mean the Banks and Other Financial Institution Acts, which states that for every offence committed by a bank, the bank will be charged N5,000 per day from the date the offence was committed, this should be applied. Section 60, sub-section 2, sub-section states that every bank in Nigeria shall adhere strictly to every CBN regulations, guidelines and procedures. That means no bank in Nigeria has such power to act arbitrarily. Section 64, went further to say that, not withstanding the act of provision of BOFIA, the maximum penalty CBN can post on any bank is N2 million or they withdraw the bank’s license. What have you done to put a check on the Central Bank of Nigeria?
I have been writing series of petitions to the Federal government against the Central Bank of Nigeria. The first one I wrote was in 2007, when the banks were making too much money, making billions of naira from excess charges, when they go to the capital market. I wrote to the late president Musa Yar’Adua that behind the razzmatazz and make- believe scenes in the banking industry, that the banks will soon collapse. The banking industry in Nigeria is surviving on fraud; they are defrauding the federal government of Nigeria, the state government, local government and the citizenry. Well, they go into the capital market, declare billions and billions of naira, but I know they can not publish any financial statement without the approval of CBN and I can tell you that the Central Bank of Nigeria is colluding with the banks to give such fraudulent financial statement. I told the federal government that there’s no healthy bank in the industry. And I am aware that they produce three different sets of accounts- one for the CBN, one for the internal revenue, one for themselves and several for the states internal revenue boards with different versions. And, as at today, there’s no healthy bank in Nigeria. What did the government do when they got your petition?
I was called by the government through the Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Currency and I showed him through signed documents how the banks are admitting stealing customers’ money and based on that, the House of Reps gave me the permission to go and probe the banking industry as I became a consultant to the committee for the purpose of the probe until it was compromised. But with my other petitions to late president Musa Yar’Adua on the weakness of the banks, I was directed to Masu Muktaru in 2009 to explain how the banks were using different years’ financial statements to defraud the country. It was based on my petitions and investigations that we were able to have a uniform financial year for all the banks in Nigeria today. The banks are suspects in the shady business, all they did during the scattered financial year was to move cash from one bank to the other to manipulate their balance sheet. That’s how we saw a bank declaring that its annual turnover is N1 trillion. What’s your grouse with the Central Bank of Nigeria?
Our relationship can never be cordial because I have written several petitions against them. And my position now is that CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido should go because our economy is in shambles and investors are no longer coming in for investments. When you have a CBN governor that is so loud that he double speaks and thinks with his mouth and talks with his brain, then there will be problem. Imagine, under his governance, we have reports that people cannot rely on from all the banks. Let me tell you, the same Sanusi was a boy to most of these banks managers, so how do you expect him to perform genuinely.