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Government officials spend $3.95 billion on estacodes in 2019—-CBN

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele


—- as CBN uses N538.59m to destroy dirty naira notes worth N698.59bn in 2020
 Eyewitness reporter

The Federal government spent a whopping sum of $3.95 billion as estacodes and Personal Travel Allowances to ministries, departments as well as to fund Bureaux De Change operations in 2019.

The CBN, in the 2020 annual report of its Currency Operations Department released on Thursday, said the forex procured for the payment of estacodes and PTA to the MDAs as well as the funding of BDC operations dropped to $2.12bn last year.

“The receipt and authentication of foreign currency deposits by Deposit Money Banks reduced significantly due to the downturn in global trade in 2020,” it said.

The apex bank said it recorded a significant reduction in the volume and cost of forex procurement last year.

It said, “A total of $1,830.00m was procured over the course of 2020. This value represents a decrease of $2,120.00m or 53.67 percent relative to the $3,950.00m procured in 2019.

“This was used to fund Bureaux De Change operations, payment of estacode and Personal Travel Allowances to Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.”

The CBN said it used N538.59m to destroy unfit naira notes worth N698.59bn last year.

The report said, “The bank sustained banknotes disposal operations in 2020 to ensure the circulation of clean banknotes

” In furtherance of this objective, it deployed 11 banknote destruction systems and three currency disintegrating systems for currency disposal activities in the period under review.

“At end-December 2020, a total of 1,514.66 million pieces (151,427 boxes) valued at N698.59bn was disposed, compared with 1,572.17 million pieces (157,217 boxes) valued at N814.44bn in 2019.

“The boxes and value of unfit notes disposed of in 2020 decreased by 5,790 boxes and N1.12bn, respectively, below 157,217 boxes, valued at N814.44bn in 2019.

“The decrease was attributed to the suspension of disposal activities due to COVID-19 restrictions.”

“The sum of N538.59m was incurred on currency disposal activities in 2020, compared with N647.82m in 2019. This was N109.23m or 16.86 percent lower than the cost in 2019,” it added.

The report said a total of 79,993 pieces of mutilated banknotes of various denominations valued at N52.82m was audited, disposed and replaced in 2020, compared with 865,775 pieces valued at N45.99m.

The CBN said to maintain the integrity of the banknotes in circulation, it sustained efforts at combating counterfeiting activities in 2020, in collaboration with security agencies.

It said a total of 67,265 pieces of counterfeit notes with a nominal value of N56.83m was recorded in 2020, compared to 84,934 pieces valued at N64.71m in 2019.

It said the N1,000 and N500 denominations constituted the bulk of counterfeited banknotes, accounting for 69.06 percent and 30.79 percent, respectively, of the total counterfeit notes.

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Court reverses self over contempt charge against Fidelity Bank chief

Managing Director of Fidelity Bank,Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe
The Eyewitness reporter

A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has vacated its ruling that convicted and sentenced the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank,Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe and Company Secretary of Fidelity Bank, Mrs. Unuigboje Ezinwa to six weeks in prison or a fine of Four Hundred Thousand Naira respectively for contempt.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr. Lateef Owolabi vacated the order in a Suit No: MIK/4726/22 between Justin Ahmed, (judgement creditor),  Prince Enabulele Osazee, (judgement debtor) and Fidelity Bank Plc, (1st Garnishee/Applicant).
The court, in an earlier ruling delivered on February 6, 2023,  held that the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nneka Chinwe Onyeali-Ikpe and the Company Secretary, Mrs. Unuigboje Ezinwa should be committed to six weeks’ imprisonment over alleged disobedience of a garnishee order of the court restraining the bank from allowing a judgement debtor access to his account.
However, at the resumed proceedings on the matter on Feb 15, 2023, the court vacated the committal order on the premise of facts presented before the court that the alleged acts of contempt were not deliberate but arose out of a communication gap between the said parties and the erstwhile counsel.
The court in its ruling also stated that the error or sin of the counsel should not be visited on a party or litigants. The court also noted that the monies that were the subject matter and fulcrum of the contempt proceedings have since been paid to the judgment creditor.
“From the materials presented before this court by the applicant, this application falls within the classic rule where the error or sin of the counsel should not be visited on a party or litigants. Moreover, the applicant has averred that the monies subject matter, the fulcrum of the contempt proceedings had since been paid to the judgment creditor.
”Having fully discharged this payment to the satisfaction of the judgment creditor, this court should not be seen to cry more than the bereaved”, Mr Lateef Owolabi held.
”The solicitor to the bank explained that Fidelity Bank, being a law-abiding institution that will never or under any circumstance, directly or indirectly denigrate the integrity of the nation’s judiciary, had upon receipt of the garnishee order nisi on December 22, 2022, conducted a search immediately, and the result showed several accounts bearing similar names to the Judgment Debtor’s (Prince Enabulele Osazee).”
”To prevent the bank from erroneously restricting the wrong account, the bank filed an affidavit requesting additional account details to enable it to ascertain the correct account(s) to restrict.”
He further stated that, on January 16, 2023, the bank received the Judgment Creditor’s affidavit showing the account number of the Judgment Debtor. Armed with the correct account number, the bank immediately identified and placed a lien on the Judgment Debtor’s account. Unfortunately, during the intervening period, the judgement debtor had carried on depositing and withdrawing from his account.
In vacating the order on February 15, 2023, the Chief Magistrate held that based on the materials before the court, the applicant has been able to tether the law to the facts to warrant the grant of the relief sought on their own strength and not based on lack of opposition.

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Supreme court restrains FG from enforcing naira swap deadline

The Eyewitness reporter
There was a temporary relief for Nigerians over the scarcity of naira notes as the Supreme Court has issued an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from enforcing the  February 10 deadline for the phasing out of the old naira notes.
A five-member panel of the court, led by Justice John Okoro said that it was a matter of urgent national importance that the court intervenes and grant the order.
The ruling was on an ex-parte motion filed by the governments of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states
The order, according to Justice Okoro, who read the lead ruling, is to subsist pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the state for interlocutory injunctions.
The court adjourned till February 15 for the hearing of the motion on notice and the preliminary objection filed by the defendant – the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), challenging the court’s jurisdiction over the case.
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CBN succumbs  to pressure, extends use of old naira notes to February 10

The Eyewitness reporter
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has finally caved in to Public outcry over the February 1st deadline for the use of old naira notes when on Sunday, the apex bank announced February 10 as the new date.
Announcing the new deadline in a statement, Governor Central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said the decision to add extra 10 days was “to allow for the collection of more old notes”

Up till Saturday, CBN had insisted on the 31st January deadline for the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 despite overwhelming complaints that the notes are either not available or in short supply in the banks or their Automated Teller Machines.

Last October, Emefiele announced the Naira redesign policy which entails the issuance of new notes to replace the existing N200, N500 and N1,000 series.

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