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ICYMI: In 10 days, banks may freeze funds in accounts without BVN

ICYMI: In 10 days, banks may freeze funds in accounts without BVN
October 21
20:25 2017
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Order papers seen by TheCable show that funds kept in accounts without bank verification number (BVN) may be forfeited to the federal government in 10 days.

The order issued on October 17 was signed by Nnamdi Dimgba, a judge of the federal court, Abuja.

19 banks across the country were given an ultimatum of 14 days to advertise accounts without BVN in a national newspaper.

During this period, owners of such accounts are expected to show cause why the money should not be forfeited.

“That the 1st-19th defendants shall disclose a) the names of the accounts as operated, b) account numbers, c) account balances d) domiciliary accounts, e) the branch/location where the accounts are domiciled of all accounts without BVN,” the papers read.

“That the 1st-19th defendant banks to disclose any investments made with funds from these accounts without BVN in any product including fixed/term deposits and their liquidation and interest incurred, bank acceptances, commercial papers and any other relevant information related to the transaction made on the account.

“That an order is hereby made freezing the said accounts by stopping all outward payments, operations or transactions (including any bit of exchange) in respect to the accounts pending the hearing and determination of the substantive application.

“An interim order of forfeiture to the monies in the said accounts without BVN to the claimants being accounts with insufficient Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines contrary to Section 3 of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 and CBN guidelines pending the determination of the Originating Motion on Notice.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) were directed to verify the data provided.

“That an interim order is herey made granting leave to the applicants or any officer authorized by them to advertise the accounts without BVN disclosed by the banks in a widely circulated national newspaper as notice to any person or body corporate or financial institution who may have any interest in any of the said accounts to claim ownership of same within 14 days of the publication of the order and show cause why the proceeds in the account should not be permanently forfeited to the federal government of Nigeria.”

The BVN registration exercise began in February 2014 to curb theft and fraud. Earlier in 2017, the CBN extended the registration exercise to microfinance banks and other financial institutions on the request of Kemi Adeosun, minister of finance.

In December 2016, TheCable reported that 46 million accounts were without BVN.

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