The House of Representatives is seeking a 20-year jail term for any bank staff convicted of fraudulently tampering with customers’ accounts, as a Bill to that effect scaled second reading yesterday.
The Bill also provides for the forfeiture of the excess asset or its equivalent in money to the Federal Government, upon the conviction of such a bank official.
Explaining the rationale behind the Bill, its sponsor, Ejiroghere Waive, noted that banking fraud has become rampant and therefore a source of worry to almost everyone, adding that banks should post the data of their staff yearly to enable relevant authorities track any fraudulent act.
Currently, the law prescribes 10 years jail term for such an offence, but the amendment seeks 20 years imprisonment to serve a maximum deterrent for others.
We should also look at those 20 years in a very clean perspective so that if the Bill is passed, it will serve as a deterrent to bank officials that take that trust between them and customers for granted.
Contributing to the debate, Yusuf Gagdi, argued that even the 20 years is not stiff enough.
He said: “So, Mr Speaker, I think we should not even be interested in the 20 years. In my opinion, it should be more.
“This Bill that seeks to amend that framework is apt. We should also look at those 20 years in a very clean perspective so that if the Bill is passed, it will serve as a deterrent to bank officials that take that trust between them and customers for granted.”
Supporting the Bill, Nkem Abonta, said is worried about how the Board and Management and some bank staff access loans without collateral.
He said: “You see directors accessing loans; if you apply this law strictly, directors are employees of the bank, bank owners or anybody who is related to the bank should be deemed to be an employee of the bank.”