Sterling Bank Plc has again disproved claims made by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) accusing it of hoarding N258 million worth of new naira notes at its Abuja regional office.
According to the statement signed by the bank’s public relations manager Ademola Adesina, a monitoring team from the ICPC visited the regional office last week. During the visit, they observed that the bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were dispensing all denominations of the newly redesigned banknotes.
How the N258 million was discovered: In the statement, Sterling Bank’s Chief Operating Officer Raheem Owodeyi explained that it was the bank officials who told the ICPC team about the presence of the sum of N258 million in the vault. He explained that the amount was there because the branch serves as a hub for the distribution of cash to other Sterling Bank branches across the region.
The branches serviced by the regional office include Utako, Wuye, Seda Close, Kotangora, and National Assembly offices. This, along with additional information on the branch’s function, was captured in the statement with a mention of the monitoring team’s visit to other branches to confirm reports reviewed and detailing the disbursement of cash.
The statement further disclosed that upon their visits to the Utako and Wuye branches, the monitoring team reviewed the records submitted for the movement of cash from the CBD branch to other branches served within the region.
- “It is important to state that cash was being paid OTC at the branches, and the ATM terminals were dispensing the newly designed denominations during the monitoring exercise,” it said.
Inaccurate and misleading earlier reports: The statement explained that to the bank’s knowledge, all responses provided were satisfactory, as no further queries were raised and the monitoring team promptly left the premises upon concluding the inspection.
- “Approximately one hour later, officials of the ICPC accompanied by the monitoring team, returned and invited two of the branch’s staff for further questioning at the ICPC headquarters in Abuja; the two bank representatives returned to their offices on the same day with no charges levelled against them.
- “Members of the regulatory monitoring team were informed of the sums contained in the branch’s vault prior to the inspection. These sums were confirmed with a review of the records as presented by representatives of the Bank. The assertion of a “discovery”, as presented in the narrative, is inaccurate and misleading. It must be noted that no cash was “stashed” in the vault of the regional office, and for emphasis, Sterling Bank has complied with all the guidelines on the distribution of redesigned notes from inception to date,” the bank said.
Why the clarification is necessary: The bank said it released a statement to provide the true representation of the event, thus countering what it described as a ‘misleading narrative’ as expressed by the ICPC on Tuesday, 07 February 2023.
The statement added that amid the ongoing difficulties associated with the distribution of the newly designed currency policy, Sterling Bank has been praised for some initiatives, as evidenced by videos from the previous week when the bank’s branches distributed bottles of water to customers patiently waiting to withdraw cash.
In case you missed it: The ICPC had alleged that the sum of N258 million discovered in the vault of Sterling Bank’s Abuja regional head office was being hoarded. The bank initially denied the allegation but did not provide details.