The Federal Government has accused commercial banks in the country of an attempt to frustrate the intention of government on accounts without Bank Verification Number BVN.
The FG made the accusation at the hearing of the suit it filed through the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) against the 19 commercial banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Recall that a court presided over by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had ordered the forfeiture of accounts without BVN in all commercial banks.
The court, among others, ordered the banks to disclose the details of all such accounts, their owners and their proceeds in their affidavit of compliance deposed to by their Chief Compliance Officers.
The order was later challenged by the 19 commercial banks in a joint application and got an order setting aside the earlier ruling.
At the resumed hearing of the suit, counsel to the Federal Government, Ade Okeaya-Inneh (SAN), while arguing an application challenging the right of the banks to be heard in the case, noted that the plaintiff has a public duty to ensure that a law made by the FG through the Central Bank of Nigeria is obeyed.
“If the defendants say they did not know who own the money in the accounts without BVN, how can they then come to defend the case”- he argued
While noting that the banks’ attack of the suit’s competence was hinged on illegality, argued that the BVN regulation, which the suit seeks to enforce, was made by the CBN, which has the power under the law to make the BVN regulation.
While responding, the banks’ lawyer, Paul Usoro, SAN, urged the court to reject the plaintiff’s suit on the grounds that the AGF was without the powers to enforce the provision of the AFFA, particularly Section 17 of the Act, which the suit seeks to enforce.
The Bank Verification Number commonly called BVN is a biometric identification system implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria to curb and reduce illegal banking transactions in Nigeria.