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Five banks fined N1.4bn for forex offenses

Five prime banks in Nigeria disbursed a total of N1.4bn as sanctions to financial regulatory bodies such as the Central Bank of Nigeria, Security Exchange Council and Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, in the first half of the year, tori4africa learnt.

The banks includes UBA , Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, GTBank and First City Monument Bank.

figures were obtained from analysis of the H1 2021 financial statements of the banks via their websites.

Results showed that the penalties were as a result of offences and infractions of protocols instituted by the Federal Government through the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, relevant CBN circulars and other regulatory requirements.

The BOFIA Act is a regulatory framework that was introduced to guide the financial industry. The Act which was first enacted in 1997 empowers the CBN to enforce its requirements.

The president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had in November 2020, signed the amended BOFIA Act 2020 which repealed the erstwhile BOFIA 2004.

In this period, GTB paid a total sum of N692m as penalties to regulators for two major infractions bordering on foreign exchange transactions carried out by Betting and Gaming Companies (N690m) and non-refund of interest on debit of non-interest related charges to non-funded accounts (N2m).

Also, for forex trade violations and other forex transgressions, risk based surveillance between 2018 and 2019 and late returns have it that, Fidelity bank paid the sum of N64.1m to the CBN during the period under review.

SEC also sanctioned the bank within the review period to the tune of N1.1m for late filling of its December 31 2020 Audited Financial Statement.

The total sum paid for infractions by Fidelity bank from H1 2021 was N349.3m lower than the aggregate sum of N414.5m paid as penalties in H1 2020, pulse revealed.

Still on report gotten, Access Bank was fined N184.5m by the CBN while SEC fined the bank N1m during the review period.

The infractions committed by the bank include, contravening the Central Bank’s Foreign Exchange Regulations from January 1, 2013 to July 31, 2020, contravention of rule for receiving bank, a shareholder’s complaint on dividend, CBN’s Consumer Protection report for the period of Jul 2020- Dec 2020, failure to comply with the CBN’s money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism regulations and Know Your Customer policies in respect of a customer’s account and failure to comply with Guidelines on Diaspora remittances.

UBA however incurred regulatory sanctions of N278m in H1 2021, N287m lower than the sum of N565m incurred in H1 2020 with FCMB Group’s penalties sanction rising from N150.2m in H1 2020 to N162.3m in H1 2021.

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