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Asset declaration: Stakeholders seek exemption of drivers, cleaners working in banks

Asset declaration: Stakeholders seek exemption of drivers, cleaners working in banks
February 24
19:16 2022

The house of representatives says members of the public can send proposals for the amendment of an Act mandating cleaners, drivers and messengers working in banks to declare their assets.

Ibrahim Kemba, acting chairman of the house committee on financial crimes, said this on Thursday at a public hearing held in Abuja.

The public hearing was organised by the committee on a bill to amend the Bank Employees (Declaration of Assets) Act 2004.

The bill, which passed second reading earlier this month, seeks stiffer penalties for banks employees involved in fraud.

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The current law makes it mandatory for bank employees, including clerks, cashiers, messengers, cleaners, drivers, and any other category of workers — whether part‐time, casual or temporary — to declare their assets.

Speaking at the event, representatives of banks expressed reservations about the law which mandates the aforementioned categories of employees to declare their assets.

Rita Adeyanju, legal adviser to the Chartered Institute of Bankers, said “it is not right” for cleaners and drivers working in the banks to declare assets because they are outsourced staff.

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“We want to state that it is not the right definition of who a banker is,” she said.

“The committee should concentrate on bankers, not our sourced staff.”

Sesan Adebowale, a representative of bank CEOs, elaborated on Adeyanju’s position, saying the description of bank personnel in the act is “extremely broad” and does not reflect current circumstances.

“The way the bank employees is currently defined, it is very wide,” he said.

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“This includes chairman of boards of banks, non-executive director, members of the board and then people who work in banks.

“When this enactment was made, the structure of the industry is that drivers, cleaners and clerks are employees of the bank.

“Banks have moved away from that to outsourcing these services. So essentially, we are talking about people who are employees of other organisations.”

In response, the chairman of the committee stated that an amendment proposal can be submitted to alter the clause to “reflect current realities”.

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“What you should have done before now, was to bring an amendment to that,” he said.

“If you know that there is a shift from what was obtainable in the past and the current realities, you should as a professional body bring an amendment.

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“You don’t need to sit down until when we are on this particular area that you start making reference to what has happened in the past. Any part of the law you feel is obsolete, under normal circumstances, you should call for an amendment.

“I want to advise that you should move for an amendment for that section that defines the drivers as employees of the banks because the current reality is that they are outsourced now.

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“They are not employees of the bank. I want to suggest that you bring an amendment to that. Not only that area, but any aspect of that act you feel is also obsolete.”

Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asked the committee to designate the anti-graft agency as the receiving agency for bank employees’ asset declaration.

“As it relates to the appropriate authority, the EFCC is seeking to be the appropriate authority to receive these declarations,” Hadiza Zubairu, who represented Abdurasheed Bawa, EFCC chairman, said.

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