Nigeria’s anti-graft agency says alleged raid on Standard Chartered head office was not authorised

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has denied authorising the raid on Friday of the head office of Standard Chartered Bank in Lagos.

Operatives of the agency had been reported to have attempted to arrest an executive of the bank on Friday, but left after the executive barricaded herself in an office.

The bank is one of the lenders fined for helping MTN Group repatriate over $8 million illegally out of the country, from its Nigerian unit. Despite the affected banks and MTN denying any wrongdoing and commencing talks with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the banking regulator debited the banks the full sum of the fine, with N2.4 billion ($7.86 million) taken from Standard Chartered’s deposit at the central bank.

It is unclear whether the alleged attempt to arrest the executive is in connection with the MTN fine. However, the EFCC has said the alleged raid was not authorised.

According to a statement by the agency, “The raid by operatives purportedly wearing the jackets of the Commission might have been the handiwork of errant officers who acted without authorisation.

“The action is in flagrant violation of the standard operation procedures of the Commission as it is not the style of the EFCC to openly raid the offices of banks and other financial institutions.”

“Officials of such institutions who are wanted by the commission, are usually invited for questioning after discreet investigation. Over the years, banks have been cooperative in releasing their officers to the Commission for questioning.

“The Commission will investigate the circumstances leading to this illegal raid by errant officers and those found culpable would be subjected to the internal disciplinary mechanism of the Commission.

“EFCC again reassures Nigerians that it is an agency which adheres strictly to the rule of law and will, as much as possible, avoid draconian measures in its fight against corruption.”