The Bank of Industry, BOI, has sought the partnership and collaboration of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in its quest to halt the sliding fortune of local industries across the country. The Managing Director of the bank, Ms Evelyn Oputu, made this request on Thursday, May 24th, 2012, during a courtesy call on the EFCC Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde at the Headquarters of the Commission in Abuja .
Oputu pointed out that the negative disposition of many local industrialists to loan repayment, in an economy crying for development, would need the active engagement of the EFCC and other stakeholders. She considered it imperative for the EFCC to partner with BOI to enhance the fulfilment its mandate.
“We have come to EFCC with clean hands; we want to be able to constantly have a dialogue, working together so that you can understand us better; we want you to understand what we stand for. We want to affiliate ourselves with you, to pass the message to our teeming customers that in working with EFCC, those who do the right thing will get a reward for that and those who choose not to do the right thing will be handed over to the EFCC for prosecution”, she said.
She commended the Commission for its transparency, stressing that BOI considered it a thing of pride to emulate the Commission in its openness. “We will emulate the EFCC in transparency”, she stressed. She explained that her bank has been making considerable efforts in delivering on her mandate and promised that it could do better. “We have come to say that as Nigerians working in a Nigeria institution, we have been able to do our best, but our best will still not be enough without collaborating with the EFCC. Because of the general perception that so many people have about Nigeria , it has not been very easy to persuade the generality of the people that there can be transparency”, she noted.
She appealed to the EFCC for capacity building for her staff in order to equip them to deliver on the bank’s core mandate. “Working with you, we would be able to get capacity in strengthening our workforce”, she said.
In his response, Lamorde said that since Oputu’s assumption of office as BOI boss; a lot of positive things have taken place in the BOI. “We want to be part of your success story. We are impressed by the passion with which you pursue your job,” he said.
The EFCC Chair further said that the Commission is aware of the growing culture of loan defaulting in many financial institutions. “Some of them don’t even utilise the money for the purpose the loans were taken. They will rather divert the loan to do other things that are not productive. So recouping the money becomes very difficult. Even the collateral for securing such loans may not even be sufficient for recouping the loans. They even hide their assets by using unknown identities, so to even confiscate their properties becomes very difficult to trace. We try as much as possible to be transparent in what we do, we try to observe the rule of law and within the ambit of the law, and we exercise our mandate. We will therefore do our best to ensure that we assist you”, he assured.
Lamorde assured the management of the bank that the Commission’s training institution in Abuja , the EFCC Academy , will design courses meant to assist the BOI improves its internal control mechanisms. He emphasized that capacity building and learning process are reciprocal in nature since the EFCC could also benefit from the wealth of experience of the trainees. “We also stand to benefit from officers that will be attending such courses. We may do it for you in conjunction with other banks so as to get a broader view of the banking industry because your experience may not be different from those of other commercial banks. We have to do this because part of our job is not only to arrest, investigate and prosecute but to create awareness. It is much easier and cheaper in stopping people from taking such resources away than going after them after stealing such resources”.
Oputu was accompanied on the visit by some officials of her bank including Waheed Olagunju, General Manager, Corporate Services; Jimoh. E. Oseni , Assistant General Manager, Internal Control & Audit Division; Akeem.O. Adesina, Assistant General Manager, Finance, among others.