Business Hilights
Tracking Nigeria's Headline Business News Online

BVN: Banks legal heads to meet today, study court order

Legal teams and company secretaries of all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country will today, Tuesday, begin a marathon emergency meeting to fashion out modalities to comply with a court order directing commercial banks to freeze bank accounts without the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and publish names and details of the customers.

Analysts say the convening of the emergency meeting is not just to look for angles for appeal, but to work out seamless ways of achieving compliance to the court ruling.

Already, palpable tension is growing amongst money launderers who had been boxed to a tight corner since the introduction of BVN by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This stemmed from the latest Abuja Federal High Court order to the CBN and the commercial banks to disclose all accounts in their custody and the balances in accounts that are yet to certify the terms and conditions of BVN.

Business Hilights recalls that the scheme was introduced in the last two years and banks had been raising the awareness for customers to come forward for compliance.

The federal High Court also made an interim order directing the banks to freeze all the said accounts by stopping “all outward payments, operations or transactions” pending the hearing of the substantive application seeking the forfeiture of the balances in the accounts to the Federal Government.

The banks were also directed to disclose “any investments made with funds from these accounts without the BVN in any products.”

Checks and calls made to corporate communications of about 13 banks showed complete readiness to comply with the court order as soon as possible.

However, some human rights lawyers have punctured the constitutionality of the ruling, saying BVN, ab-initio was never a condition or provision in the prevailing Money Laundering Act of had been any of the provisions in Acts governing the nation’s financial space.