STERLING BANK: “Why EFCC Visited Us”

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Sterling Bank Plc has clarified issues surrounding the intrusion of its head office in Lagos last week by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Sterling Bank affirmed that it did not hold account for “the public officer from the previous administration to which this matter (EFCC visit to the bank) has been linked either officially or otherwise”.

Some reports, most especially online, had linked last week investigative visit by the EFCC to the bank to the slush political dealings involving former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, generally known as Diezanigate. EFCC had also been investigating diversion of arms funds, otherwise known as Dasukigate, named after the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

Sterling Bank explained that while the reason for the visit by the EFCC last Wednesday was not immediately clear, it has now been confirmed that the investigation is related to the banking relationship of a non-bank financial institution that is a client of Sterling Bank Plc.

“We affirm for the public records that the bank does not hold the account of the public officer from the previous administration to which this matter has been linked either officially or otherwise; the non-bank financial institution (Asset Management Company) in question purchased a number of loans on a recourse basis from Sterling Bank Plc on commercially acceptable terms and this is the link of the concern raised by the EFCC to Sterling Bank Plc,” Sterling Bank stated.

The lender’s share price, which was stable at N1.71 at the close of business yesterday, had firmed by 4.91 per cent on Tuesday, the eighth highest percentage gain within the five-hour trading session. The gain by Sterling Bank had helped the banking sector to a positive close in a market overwhelmed by losses by several highly capitalised stocks.

Meanwhile, Sterling Bank according to the statement to the local bourse,  gave assurance to the investing public that it had commissioned a review of the compliance procedures of its non–bank financial institution clients with the aim of strengthening this area of its operations.

“We thank our numerous partners for their support and assure you that the bank remains a compliant institution that continues to conduct its business within the ambit of the law,” Sterling Bank stated.