The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a directive requiring its staff to declare ‘close relatives’ employed by the bank and disclose any connections to Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) in the country.
This move comes in the wake of the apex bank facing criticism during former President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime for allegedly recruiting family members of top government officials without proper advertisement of vacancies, violating the country’s federal character law.
According to a Premium Times report, the directive, outlined in a memo signed by Christian Eze, the Deputy Director of the Human Resources Department, mandates staff to submit these declarations by noon on Friday, November 10, 2023.
The memo stated that all staff members must disclose close relatives, defined as spouses, biological and adopted children, siblings, parents, and half-siblings, employed by the bank. The definition of spouses extended to include cohabiting partners and couples with children.
“Please recall Management’s restriction on the employment of close relatives of serving staff and board members,” the memo reads.
“Consequently, all staff are obliged to make declarations of close relatives in the employment of the Bank.”
Following that, the bank directed all employees with close relatives who had previously worked for the bank (whether serving or retired) to fill out a form.
The directive also required staff who joined the CBN from 2014 onwards to declare any relationships with PEPs.
“For clarity, a PEP is an individual who is or has been entrusted with prominent public functions in Nigeria or Foreign countries or by an International Organization and people/entities associated with them.
“PEPs include Heads of State or Government, Political appointees to Heads of State or Government, State Governors, Senior Politicians, Legislators (Federal, States and Local Governments), Local Government Chairmen, Important political party officials, Family members or close associates of PEPs, Senior Government, Judicial or Military Officials, Members of Royal Families, and Senior Executives of State-owned Corporations,” the memo explained.
The CBN set a deadline of noon on Friday, November 10, for all submissions and warned that non-disclosure or false declarations would result in sanctions.
An insider at the CBN told Premium Times that the recent disclosure requirements are part of an ongoing investigation by the Special Investigator, Jim Obazee, who has reportedly requested a social network analysis of the bank’s personnel.
On July 28, President Bola Tinubu appointed Jim Obazee, a former chief executive officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, as a special investigator to probe the activities of the CBN and other related entities.
In the letter, the president said Obazee’s appointment, relying on the fundamental objective set forth in Section 15(5) of the Nigerian Constitution, was in furtherance of his administration’s anti-corruption fight.
Tinubu specifically directed Obazee to take immediate steps to ensure the strengthening and probity of key Government Business Entities (GBEs) and block leakages in the CBN and related GBEs.
He also directed the special investigator to produce a comprehensive report on public wealth currently held by corrupt individuals and establishments (private or public), to investigate the CBN and related entities using a suitably experienced, competent and capable team, and to work with relevant security and anti-corruption agencies to deliver on the assignment.