Following a report by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) that it discovered the sum of N258 million stashed in the vault at the Abuja regional office of Sterling Bank Plc, the bank has responded with a terse statement, trying to rather discredit the commission.
The statement by Sterling Bank, which was shared via Twitter on Wednesday, claimed that “the news media and the government are entwined in a vicious circle of mutual manipulation, mythmaking, and self-interest.”But the statement fell short of clearer response expected from an industry that thrives on trust, integrity, among others.
This is because the statement did not categorically deny the allegation. Instead, it urged that journalists should desist from ‘dramatising’ the development.
Part of the statement said:
“Too often, the crises are joint fabrications. The two institutions have become so ensnared in a symbiotic web of lies that the news media are unable to tell the public what is true, and the government is unable to govern effectively.”
Metrobusinessnews.com (MBN) had earlier carried the story that the ICPC said it discovered the sum of N258 million stashed in the vault at the Abuja regional head office of Sterling Bank Plc.The anti-graft agency also revealed that both the bank’s Regional and Service managers were arrested and later granted administrative bail while the investigation continues.
The ICPC assured that the Federal Government will continue to fight against naira hoarding.
The discovery of the stashed naira notes at Sterling Bank’s Abuja regional office is coming few days after similar allegations were made against the bank’s branch in Ado Ekiti and at a time when Nigerians across the country have been enduring long queues at ATMs and banking halls in a desperate bid to access cash.
Responding to the Ado Ekiti branch allegation, the bank said in a dtstemeny:
“New Notes Distribution At Ado-Ekiti Branch
We would like to formally state the facts surrounding our branch in Ado Ekiti.
1. The Naira notes referenced were received prior to the re-configuration of the branch’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to dispense the 200 Naira denomination.
2. On January 23, 2023, a regulatory official visited our branch in AdoEkiti and the vault contained N 6,000,000 in N 200 denominations.
3. During the visit, the official observed that we had ran out of N1,000 and N500 notes on that day and were unable to load the N200 as the ATMs had not yet been configured to dispense N200 notes.
4. At the time of the visit, the subsisting instruction was that the newly designed notes were not to be dispensed over the counter.
5. All our ATMs have been dispensing the available quantities of the N1000 and N500 denominations of the newly designed currency as
received since the commencement of the policy. We have also
successfully reconfigured our ATMs nationwide to dispense N200 notes.
6. All denominations can now be withdrawn from our ATMs and over the counter in line with regulatory pronouncement on February 2, 2023.
We hereby confidently assure the public that the branch was not hoarding any funds and that Sterling remains at the forefront of ensuring that this..”
However, amid the cash scarcity challenge, a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court earlier today temporarily halted plans to completely ban the use of the old naira notes across the country on February 10th. The case Resumes February 15, 2023.