CBN Responds To SERAP Suit, DeniesLaundering Money For Boko Haram

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has
denied allegations that funding for the
activities of insurgent group, Boko Haram,
were funneled through it.
It would be recalled that Socio-Economic
Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP),
had on 14 October dragged the CBN before
the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, following the
apex bank’s refusal to grant its freedom of
information request.
Reacting to an originating summons with
suit number FHC/L/CS/1547/2014 instituted
by SERAP, asking for information about
persons or the office involved in alleged
money laundering activities of the Boko
Haram through the CBN, the apex bank
denied such allegation, maintaining that it
only maintains accounts for and on behalf of
the Government, its Ministries, Departments
and Agencies.
It added that it can only make payments
on behalf of the government agencies based
on authorized mandates.
An Australian hostage negotiator, Dr.
Stephen Davis, had alleged that in one of his
talks with high ranking members of Boko
Haram, a certain senior member of staff of
the CBN was mentioned as the source
through which funds for the sect were
laundered through the bank.
A statement by SERAP through its Executive
director, Tokunbo Mumuni, said the bank in a
letter with reference LSD/ACL/GEN/
SRP/02/090 and signed by O.A. Ogundana
on behalf of the Director, CBN Legal Services
Department, it stated: “We write to
acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated
15th September 2014 on the subject
captioned: request to provide information
about alleged money laundering to Boko
Haram through the Bank.
“In your letter you had requested from the
CBN information about persons or office
involved in alleged money laundering
activities of the Boko Haram through the
CBN; and information on the exact nature
and duration of any such transactions.
“We wish to inform you that after
investigating the allegations across various
Departments at the Bank that deal with
payments, the Bank could not find any
information pertaining to persons involved in
money laundering through the CBN to fund
the activities of Boko Haram.
“The CBN as Banker to the Federal
Government only maintains accounts for and
on behalf of the Government, its Ministries,
Departments and Agencies; Deposit Money
banks and other financial institutions in
Nigeria and can only make payments on their
behalf based on authorized mandates.
“Consequently, the CBN does not maintain or
operate any accounts for individuals, officers
or offices within the Bank. In conclusion,
your organization may wish to note that the
Bank maintains a robust Anti-Money
Laundering/Combating the Financing of
Terrorism framework to prevent the use of its
platform for financial crimes. Please, accept
the assurances of the Governor, Central Bank
of Nigeria”.
In its suit, SERAP asked the court to
determine “Whether by virtue of the provision
of section 4(a) of the Freedom of Information
Act 2011, the CBN is under an obligation to
provide the plaintiff with the information
requested for”.
SERAP noted that, “a necessary implication
of the rule of law is that a public functionary
and institution can only act in accordance
with law, as to do otherwise may enthrone
arbitrariness. Obedience to the rule of law by
all citizens but more particularly those who
publicly took oath of office to protect and
preserve the constitution is a desideratum to
good governance. In a democratic society,
this is meant to be a norm; it is an apostasy
for public institutions like the CBN to ignore
the provisions of the law”.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the
application.

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