Ex-banker wants court to declare CBN’s blackbook unconstitutional

Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor

Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor

The National Industrial Court, sitting in Lagos, has been asked to declare the Central Bank of Nigeria’s black book unconstitutional, unlawful and therefore null and void.

The suit may be a precursor to more litigations that may trail alleged flagrant abuse by some banks, that usually forward names of their former workers to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for listing in the black book, even when allegations against them were yet to be proven.

The CBN’s black book is a document kept at its registry in Abuja, wherein names of banks’ employees suspected of fraud and other finance-related offences are listed.

Under the CBN’s guideline, banks are required to send names of their staffers for listing in the book, only when allegations against them have been proven beyond reasonable doubt.

In a suit dated 2nd June 2015, a former employee of one the leading commercial banks in the country sued the apex financial institution for blacklisting him on the black book, ostensibly on an allegation of stealing.

The claimant, who worked for the bank from 2003 to 2006, was relieved of his employment following an alleged altercation between him and the branch head, in the wake of the disappearance of N100,000 from the bank’s cabin.

Following termination of the claimant’s employment, the bank recommended to CBN to blacklist the ex-employee on its black book. The victim’s name was consequently put on the shame list, since 2006, without giving him the opportunity of fair hearing by both the bank and CBN.

This fact was concealed from the claimant until last year when he secured another job with another bank, only to be relieved of it when their investigations revealed that the claimant has been blacklisted at CBN registry.

Also joined in the suit are the bank and its Executive Director.

The claimant averred among others, a declaration that the defendants’ act of surreptitiously blacklisting his name at CBN’s registry as a fraudulent person without a trial and conviction by the court of law and/or without informing him of that fact and/or offering him the opportunity of defending himself before the bank and CBN is unlawful, unconstitutional and contrary to all known principles of natural justice and good conscience.

When the matter came up on Monday, there were no representations for the defendants while lead counsel for the Claimant, Ken Chinedu Konze was present.

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