The Central Bank of Nigeria may fine banks hoarding new notes a sum of N5m and members of the public selling the new notes N50,000.
This was based on the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007 and the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act of 2020.
According to the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act, 2020, the CBN governor may propose to alter, rescind or enforce fresh or more conditions on a licensed bank or financial institution after notifying the banks involved.
It noted that any bank that fails to comply with conditions is liable to a fine of at least N5m and an extra N100,000 for each day of the compliance failure.
Section 5(4,5) of the Act read in part, “Where the governor proposes to vary, revoke or impose fresh or additional conditions on a licence, the Governor shall, before exercising such power, give notice of his intention to the bank concerned and give the bank an opportunity to make representation to him thereon.
“Any bank which fails to comply with any fresh or additional condition imposed in relation to its licence is liable to (a) a penalty of not less than N5,000,000, and (b) an additional penalty of N100,000 for each day during which the fresh or additional condition is not complied with.
The document further notes that any bank director, manager or officer who fails to ensure that compliance is observed is also guilty and is liable to at least three years imprisonment, or N2m, or both.
Section 5(6) of the Act read, “Any person who, being a director, manager or officer of a bank fails to take reasonable steps to secure compliance with any of the conditions of the licence of the bank commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than three years or a fine of not less than N2,000,000 or both.”
In the CBN Act 2007, it is an offence to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in naira notes, and anyone found guilty can face imprisonment for a term not less than six months or a fine of at least N50,000. Violators face both fine and imprisonment, according to the document.
Section 21(4) of the Act read, “It shall also be an offence punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank.”
The CBN had earlier threatened to prosecute anyone caught selling or abusing the Naira.
In a statement by the bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, the CBN expressed concerns over the selling of the new notes, adding that it would work with security agencies to address the issue.
Nigerians who reject or deface the new naira notes may be at risk of a N50,000 fine or six-month imprisonment.