The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, ICPC, and other financial sector regulatory authorities on Wednesday called for support to ongoing efforts to amend the provisions of the old Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act 44 of 1977.
The amendment became necessary following observations that most of the provisions in the existing Act were no longer relevant to emerging issues in the financial sector.
The amendment of the provisions of the Act would ensure that the new provisions captured emerging trends of the offences, particularly as they relate to dud cheques offences, to discourage frauds in banking sector transactions in the country.
It is expected that the overhauled law would ensure that offenders get punished for infractions, while corrupt and criminal tendencies in the financial services sector were curtailed.
The Deputy Governor of the CBN, Corporate Services, Suleiman Barau, who spoke at the Stakeholders Workshop on Legislative and Regulatory Framework for Dishonoured Cheques in Nigeria, held in Abuja, said amending the old Act would restore confidence in the banking system.
Mr. Barau expressed confidence that the revised legislation would address all the shortcomings identified with the enforcement of the old law.
The Director of Legal Services, Simon Onoketu, said the Central Bank was fully committed to the ongoing efforts to amend the Act, going by statements by the Governor, Lamido Sanusi, and other guidelines issued on the matter in recent times.
Beyond the amendment of the legal instruments, he said there was also the bigger challenge of enforcement requiring an urgent consideration by stakeholders if the proposed amendment would be meaningful.
Specifically, Mr. Barau said the CBN was supporting the stakeholders’ forum and other steps being taken to ensure amendment of the old legal instrument to help in restoring confidence in the banking system.
He said the expectation was that the gathering would sensitise the general public on the challenges dud cheques pose to the entire economy.
“The Central Bank wants as much as possible to have a system where dud cheques were discouraged to engender confidence in the banking system generally,” he said.
The Chairman of the ICPC, Ekpo Nta, said the Commission had handled several cases involving the issuance of dud cheques adding that the surging rate of the crime had the potential of negatively affecting the inflow of Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, into the country.
Mr. Nta, who was represented by a Deputy Commissioner in the Commission, Adedayo Kayode, said the Commission expected the stakeholders to come up with recommendations that would help in tackling the menace of the corrupt act in the financial system as a means of fostering a corruption free society.