TRUE POSITION ON THE ICPC’S ALLEGATION ON OUR ABUJA REGIONAL OFFICE
This report is developed for the purpose of providing the true representation of events tothe narrative as expressed by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) ina tweet late on Tuesday, February 7, 2023.
- A regulatory monitoring team visited our Abuja Central Business District (CBD)Complex on February 3, 2023.
- The monitoring team, in the company of the branch service manager and otherstaﬀ, inspected and observed the following꞉
a. The branch’s ATMs were dispensing all denominations of the newly designed notes.
b. The branch was in full compliance with the regulator’s recommendations onOver ‑ The‑Counter (OTC) disbursements.
During the inspection, the monitoring team made inquiries about the details of thecash observed in the vaults. To which the team responded with details of the branch’sATM and OTC cash disbursement processes.
To our knowledge, all responses provided were satisfactory as no further queries were raised.
The monitoring team promptly left the premises upon concluding the inspection.
- Approximately one hour later, oﬃcials of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), accompanied by the monitoring team, returned tothe branch and removed two of the branch’s staﬀ for further questioning at theICPC headquarters in Abuja.
- The Sterling staﬀ were held at the ICPC oﬃce and were later released withoutany charges levied against them by the close of the business day on February 3, 2023.
About the visit to Sterling Bank, CBD, Abuja
- The Sterling branch at the Central Business District, Abuja, is a regional headquartersand serves as a hub for 5 Sterling branches and 15 ATM terminals within the region.
- During the visit, members of the monitoring team inspected the vault of the branchand observed the sum of N258,000,000 in N1000, N500 and N200 denominations.
- The distribution records from the CBD branch to other locations served within the region were presented for the evaluation of the monitoring team.
- The monitoring team proceeded to visit two branches in Utako and Wuye as both locations receive their cash disbursements from the regional headquarters ofSterling in CBD.
- Upon their visits to the Utako and Wuye branches, the monitoring team reviewedthe records submitted for the movement of cash from the CBD branch to otherbranches served within the region. It is important to state that cash was being paidover the counter at both branches, and the ATM terminals were dispensing the newly designed denominations during the monitoring exercise.
Sterling deems it necessary to point out the following꞉
- Members of the regulatory monitoring team were informed of the sums contained inthe branch’s vault prior to the inspection. These sums were conﬁrmed with areview of the records as presented by representatives of the Bank.
The assertion of a “discovery”, as presented in the narrative, is inaccurate andgrossly misleading.
- All cash observed in the vault of the CBD branch was earmarked for distribution toother branches in the region for disbursement to customers of the bank and the public.
- The sum of N5,000,000 each as contained in the monitoring team’s report,represents the cash moved to augment the vault balances of the Utako, Wuye,Seda Close and Kotangora branches (in line with the bank’s daily routine of cashmanagement) and also for disbursement to the public via their ATM terminals.
- All balances in our vaults are reported daily to the Central Bank of Nigeria and form the basis for the allocation of new notes in an eﬃcient manner; it is therefore,untrue that such monies are ‘stashed’ or ‘hoarded.’
Sterling’s Distribution of New Notes
From the commencement of the distribution of the re‑designed denominations, the CBD branch has received the total sum of N1,543,000,000 from the apex bankand paid to customers as summarized below꞉
- The sum of N892,700,000 paid out in about 104,821 transactions across 15ATM terminals between January 6 to February 6, 2023.
- The sum of N78,600,000 paid out in approximately 3,892 over‑the‑counter transactions across all 6 branches in the Abuja region between February 2, 2023 to February 6, 2023.
This was commenced upon receipt of the directive from the regulator to disburse thenew notes over the counter ‑ subject to a limit of N20,000 per transaction.
- The sum of N1,000,000,000 in a combination of old and new notes, wasdisbursed to customers over the counter in about 2,124 transactions betweenDecember 15, 2022 and January 5, 2023.
The current balances across the 6 branches in Abuja as at the close of business onFebruary 7, 2023 stood at N178,670,000.
The average vault balances currently held in the six locations is N30m per branch; well below our historical vault balances.
- The representatives of the bank duly informed the regulatory monitoring teamand oﬃcials of the ICPC of the sums in the vault, stating the purpose as intended for distribution to other branches.
- It must be noted that no cash was “stashed” in the vault of the regional oﬃce.
For emphasis, we wish to state that Sterling Bank has complied with all the guidelines onthe distribution of redesigned notes from inception to date.