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Court orders CBN officials to steer clear of microfinance bank audit

Court orders CBN officials to steer clear of microfinance bank audit %Post Title

The federal high court in Abuja has ordered two officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to forfeit their supervisory role in a forensic audit involving Hasal Microfinance Bank.

The court said both officials frustrated the implementation of a forensic audit declared by the CBN governor after a petition by the owners of the bank.

The officials named are Okwu Nnanna, CBN deputy governor and Emmanuel Zakari.

The audit was to ascertain alleged fraudulent practices in the bank.

B.F.M Nyako, justice of the federal high court, Abuja, delivered the judgement after a majority shareholder of the bank and a board member petitioned the court to order CBN carry out its directive.

“That an order is made directing the 2nd(Dr Okwu J.Nnanna) and 3rd defendants(Mr Emmanuel Zakari) not to interfere directly or indirectly, participate or in any manner supervise the audit of the 4th defendant (Hasal Microfinance Bank Limited),” the ruling read.

The petitioners had accused the chief executive officer of the bank of multiple financial frauds and conspiracy through which illegal swaps and forgeries were said to have been carried out.

In December 2016, Emefiele had written a letter to the board of the microfinance bank for the conduct of a forensic audit in line with section 33 (1)(e)(i) of the banks and other financial institutions act {BOFIA}.

However, shareholders of the bank have expressed concerns after the CBN and the estranged management of the bank challenged the court’s decision.

“Investors are worried that the governor of the CBN ordered for a forensic audit, the court agreed, and the CBN then turned round to go to court again, after the court has ruled and granted the prayers of the applicant who was initially encouraged by the CBN.

From the ongoing, it is worrisome to investors as to why the apex bank prefers the court as the solution to a purely regulatory problem which alleged cases of official misdemeanour have been levelled against its key officers.”  (The Cable )

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