Vol. XXII, Issue 1 (Winter 2015): Nigeria and Film; The Nigerian Banking Industry and
Olayemi Akinwumi (South Africa)
For more information on AfricaUpdate
In this issue of Africa Update we focus on two main areas, Nigerian film and the Nigerian Banking Industry. In the case of film the concern is the subtitles of movies, and some of the common errors that should be avoided. The authors reflect on some of the conceptual issues associated with the craft and remind us that Nigerian Cinema is no longer a localized affair but has trans- regional implications that merit caution and care in the making of subtitles.
In his article, Dr. Uwem Udok points to various dimensions of law enforcement, and argues that the investigators of bank fraud should benefit from the expertise of the police and be adequately equipped to pursue such cases. He argues that officers should be retrained in computer related skills to enhance their capabilities in fraud detection and that improved equipment and better modes of monitoring and surveillance are of prime importance.
To the contributors to this issue we offer special appreciation.
Professor Gloria Emeagwali
Kayode Animasaun, PhD. Associate Professor of Gaze and Creative Writing, Mass Communication Department, Adeleke University, Ede Osun State Nigeria.
Animasaun Yewande Amarachi, Department of Linguistics and Communication, College of Humanities and Culture Osun State University, Ikire.
To ensure continuous relevance and control of market, some steps were taken in the course of scripting. Earliest Nigerian movies were produced in L1. In the forefront of this was “Aje ni Iya mi”. However, the L2 production was “Living in Bondage” all by Nnebue Kenneth. Earlier attempts such as ‘‘Ija Ominira’’ by Ade Love, ‘‘Aye’’ by Ogunde and ‘‘Orun moru’’ by Moses Ola – iya Adejumo, Baba Sala were on celluloid, and were meant to be screened only in cinema houses.
Theoretical Frame Work
Subtitling as earlier stated is another major step to reach a wider audience and environment. According to Nornes (1999) this is the written translation of the spoken language of the movie into the one that the audience can easily understand. It is a form of inter – lingual communication, which involves interpretation (speaking) and translating (writing). Nornes also states that the effectiveness of the linguistic communication as it involves speaking and writing depends upon the cultural, linguistic and communication environment and audience preferences.
This attempt to translate the content of a movie within the domestic culture of the viewer is what Venuti (1995), terms domestication of foreign linguistic frames. In essence, the audience as it follows the movie footage is inclined to interpret the movie in line with its linguistic meanings. This is environmental domestication of the linguistic universe. This is taking the movie to the language – learning realm beyond the entertainment scope crafted for it. Taylor (2004), states that most movies have a political universe that is both entertaining and instructive to other cultures. Therefore, the tendency is for the L2 audience to take both the writing (spelling) and speaking formats of the movies as another medium to learn the language of subtitling, after interpreting the movie.
Types of Subtitling
a) The talkie type: This uses straightforward prose to introduce a movie to arouse the audience’s interest. This attempts to bring the foreign language to the audience on their own domestic terms. In essence, the subtitling is transliterational, dwelling more on the simple down-to-earth appropriation of local dialect to specific English or L2 standard.
b) The cinematic translation: Here, so much about the language of the movie is attempted to be known by the translator, and he uses this to task the imagination of the audience and his acclaimed knowledge of the movie language.
c) The abusive method: The objective of this is to achieve perfect native identity with the original language. The translator identifies strongly with movie language universe to the extent of ceding the power of his own language to accomplish a subtitling that transforms the audience into a new rich experience of the foreign.
This is what obtains in the quest to translate proverbs; incantations, prayers, analogies or songs from the movie language to the expected audiences’ language. That is what Ota (1939) referred to as sense for subtitling. This tends to agree with the aspiration of Nornes and disagree with Venutis’ foreignisation strategy. According to Nornes, subtitlers must attempt to interpret the original language so as to build a linguistic bridge. This is contrary to Venutis who asserts that the translator’s meaning should hold. However, in the Ota and Nornes’ approaches, linguistic confusion may arise in the process of harmonizing L1 to L2.
Methods of Subtitling
i) Subject Unit Method: This gives a collapsible summary of all expressions made by each character. According to Triah T. Minhha (1992), the activities of reading and hearing are collapsed into a single phrase. By this, the audience only reads what it hears, and what it hears is more often what it sees. This method therefore requires maximum summary of all utterances.
ii) The Perfectionist Method: Here, the subtitler recognizes his limitations in the language of translation, and thus focuses his subtitling on what the audience can understand only. The question is, how the subtitler can ascertain that he is actually representing the linguistic needs of the audiences. The focus of this method is not a direct translation of the foreign language but an attempt at a perfect match. This is subjective.
iii) Cultural Method: The translator allows his knowledge of the culture of the target audience to guide his translation. Native sayings, analogies and innuendos are considered as a way to make the translation light to the barest summary. The flaw in this method is the poor knowledge of L1 by some Nigerians who may now produce a confusing version in the form of a translation.
But to take care of cultural frames in linguistic subtitling Katen (1999) introduces the principle of “chucking”. He posits three types of chucking to include chucking up, which is an attempt to provide a more generic translation for certain cultural terms and thus create a broader meaning. Chucking down is to reverse the process, from a generic definition to a more specific term while chucking sideways is to provide alternative examples within the same family. The application of either these would however be determined by the translators’ knowledge of the mechanics of both L1 and L2 language.
Statement of Problem.
Objectives of the Study
Significance of Study
Research Design and
Also, ‘‘Kukan Kurciya’’ written by Hauwa Mai Zango, produced by Mohammed Badamasi, and directed by Ifeanyi Onyeabor, was selected on the assumption that with two indigenous groups at the production helm of affairs, the tendency is that both cultures would be able to harmonize subtitling, and therefore as much as possible make the subtitling error- free.
‘‘Spanner’’ was chosen because it was written, produced and directed and acted by Igbo artistes in English language. The movie is also subtitled probably to assuage the thirst of some of the audience who may have difficulty in following the characters’ narration. It is expected that the subtitle would be error free because it is not like in the other two movies where translation had to be done before captioning it. The movie ‘‘Spanner’’ was selected, therefore, because of the linguistic background of the cast and crew, and because the audience is likely to pay better attention to the subtitle as it may wish to compare the spoken to the actual written English, used in the movie.
Methods of Coding
1. Stylistic Errors due to machine speed (SEMS). In essence, the errors here are those that may likely happen in the efforts of subtitler to ensure that what is subtitled does not spill to other scenes of the movie and that the page is not crowded with wordy expressions.
2. Transliteration Error (TE): That is the error arising from poor interpretation and harmonization of L1 thoughts into L2
3. Errors due to poor knowledge of the Grammar of English Language EGEL. These are errors due to poor knowledge of application of grammatical or linguistic rules. These could be abuse of tenses, spelling, phonological, or calligraphic errors.
In all cases, these errors are copied out, coded and used as basis for determining the errors that subtitlers are likely to make, the implications on English learning stated, and thus the need to be watchful.
Content analysis according
Tape Count (TC)
Observed Error (OE)
Nature of Error
I have no time for
Come OF it, you
Why didn’t your friend
comes down (?)
…all should be
…when you ARE
aboard (past tense)
I have a wife and
two kids (past)
Are you sure this
are not fake
She’s alwals in
I will be quite
Why did you kept
I lied on you
And he promise to
He deserves to be rich,
happy and affluence
Tape Count (TC)
Observed Error (OE)
Nature of Error
I have no time for Nonesense
Come OF it, you did
Why didn’t your friend comes down (?)
…all should be nutrilized
…when you ARE aboard (past tense)
I have a wife and two kids (past)
Are you sure this are not fake
She’s alwals in pains
I will be quite
…turn obsolate equipment..
Why did you kept quiet?
I lied on you
And he promise to swear
He deserves to be rich, happy and affluence
Content analysis of the movie ‘‘Abesekele’’ shows that Yoruba subtitlers are likely to make more errors due to poor knowledge of the Grammar of English Language (EGEL). Out of the sixteen subtitling errors identified in the movie, 12 were likely to be EGEL based, while 2 could have been caused by Stylistic Errors due to Machine Speed (SEMS), and 2 were Errors due likely to transliteration (TE) problems.
For instance, “nonsense” is written as nonesense this could be EGEL arising from the wrong assumption that since there is none sense, forming a compound from it should read “nonesense”. Also the elision of “f”, in “come off” could be EGEL; occasioned by the familiarity and constant usage of conjunction “of”. “Neutralized” written as nutrilized could be taken as both EGEL and TE/SMES errors. This is a phonological error in EGEL class. In essence, because in most cases the “e” in “Neutralized” is replaced with “u”, by most Yoruba illiterate audiences, the subtitlers have probably been affected by his L1 intonation, into writing “nutrilized” - the “trilized” could be error due to SEMS.
Clear examples of errors likely to be TE are the statement like, “Gbogbo Ola mi ti tan”. Translated as “My rich are gone”. This is a transliteration of “I am ruined”. Also “mo pa ro mo e” is transliterated as “I lied on you” instead of “I lied against you.”
The implication of the above identified errors is that the L2 English student is likely to want to imitate the grammar above if not properly guided. Also, a non – Yoruba or even some Yoruba audiences have the tendency to look down not only on the movie artistes as ‘illiterates’, but perceive the Yoruba as poor linguistically.
Tape Two: Kurciya
Content analysis of “Kurciya” shows that twelve  errors were detected. The result showed also that the Hausa movie subtitler is likely to commit more errors due to poor knowledge of the English grammar above all errors with record of 9 errors. Also, he is likely to commit transliteration errors (TE) with 4 scores and SEMS with 2 counts.
The data shows that the Hausa movie subtitlers is more likely to show tendencies to be poor in grammar EGEL and transliteration than computer (SEMS) subtitling. For instance, “I beg you for the sake of God” is more of transliteration than grammatical error. However, “I have sin against you” is more of a grammatical (EGEL) than any other types of error. Also, “… her position as the elder’s wife” instead of “her position as the eldest wife” is more of both TE and EGEL. Also “spilt it on the floor” (for water) is likely to be both EGE and TE, probably due to poor articulation of the consonant cluster spl and spr; instead of “sprinkler it on the floor”. In the same vein “what is a woman” can serve as EGEL/TE; just as “Let’s summon everything to Allah” can be classified as TE.
From the analysis above, the tendency is that the Hausa movie subtitler has the likelihood of committing translation errors due to poor grammar and inability to harmonize thoughts from L1 into L2 thereby resulting in transliteration error (TE). The implication of this on English literacy is that any L2 audience trying to copy this is likely to have problems of poor performance in English language at spoken and written levels.
Tape Three: Spanner goes to
jail [Spanner Part IV]
Table below shows some
errors discovered in the subtitling of disc that could not be analysed
because of power outage in the process of analysis.
Table below shows some
errors discovered in the subtitling of disc that could not be analysed
because of power outage in the process of analysis.
Okechukwu is repeated severally in the subtitling
Analysis of the subtitling showed that 12 errors were detected in the clip. Out of this outright grammatical error (EGEL) were 3 out of all the errors observed, while computer error (SEMS) accounted for 8, and transliteration error (TE) appeared once. For instance the “I” written in small letter in “Because this is my house I want him to leave and “… by the time I loose my senses” could be due more to the inability to manipulate the key board of the computer. All the subtitler or the person who did the typing needed to have done was to tap the keys on upper case and the “I”, now a proper pronoun would have appeared as capital letter. Were those sentences to be hand written, the tendency is that small “i” would not have been written as small letter. The same rule applies to the writing of Okechukwu where the o starts with a smaller letter for a name. This is also the case in the typing of ‘‘through’’ as ‘‘throuh’’ (1.26) and “reason” as “resea” (1.38) these could be attributed to the volume of speech to be typed, and the quest to meet with the space which the tape has for the scene. The tendency therefore is that as in “throuh” because “g” is the next to “h” on the keyboard, to assume that he typed “h”. And since the screen may not have been built with error detecting devices as in some computer packages, the brain of the subtitlers may record it as correct spelling. Likewise EGEL errors due to use of punctuation marks as in (1:18) could also fall within SEMS errors. However, “I am going for night vigil” is a transliteration error. This is a compounding of meaning, because night and “vigil” are the same. A vigil is a night programme therefore to add night is tautology. But (1:23) “…dad use to tell me” is an example of pure grammatical blunder. Which should read, “…dad used to tell me”. It is a past action.
The implication of the above observation therefore is that where movie lines are scripted and not extempore, the tendency is high to have EGEL – free subtitling. However, the more and heavy the lines, the tendency also is that typographical errors are likely to be more.
The viewer is able to compare the actors speech utterance with what is subtitled, because it is possible for what artiste says to be different from what is written, as it happened some times in the movie.
Implications for learning
However, audiences watching other language movies would benefit from subtitles if care is taken to write out what is to be subtitled before typing on the screen, make necessary corrections where they occur and as much as possible ensure clarity of all written expressions.
* Speeches to be subtitled should be carefully thought out, and worded in style, dialogue and meaning following any of the discussed strategies.
* Movie subtitling should be studied as a course under Literature, Mass Communication, Drama and Linguistic Studies
* Every subtitler must also consider the educational, linguistic, cultural and historical environments of the target audience and thus ensure accuracy.
* Screen credits should be given to subtitlers as it is done to other production crew. Feedbacks such as this would make them caution themselves and ensure lexicon accuracy.
Nornes A.M. (1999) “For an Abusive Subtitling” Subtitles of Motion Pictures Film Quarterly spring.
Venuti I. (1995) The Translator’s Invisibility London Rutledge.
Schultze R. and Bignenet J. (1992) “Theories of Translation” An Anthology from Dryden to Derrida (eds) R. Schultze and J. Bignenet University of Chicago Press Chicago: 12 – 13
Ota T. (1939) “The poverty of Japanese Language of Spoken Titles” Nihon Eiga 4(5) 51: May
Paloposki O. (2004) In Defence of Variety, Why we need Different methods In Translation. URL://http//.WWW.findarticles.com. Retrieved 10 March, 2013.
Tirhn T. M. (1992) Framer Framed Routledge New York
Ndaliman M. (2005)
Subtitling and Cultural Pollution in Nigeria: A Pilot study of Federal
Polytechnic Bida students’ paper presented at the school of Applied Arts
and Science Seminar April 7th, 2005.
Uwem Udok, LL.B. (Hons)
(Nig.), B.L. (Lagos), LL.M. (Lagos), Ph. D (Jos),
In 1986, the then Federal Military Government introduced the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and part of the programme was the deregulation of the banking industry. The liberalization of the banking industry precipitated tremendous growth in the industry. Thus, the number of banks and their branches increased. Total loans and advances, total assets, total capital and reserves also increased during that period.3 The aftermath of this monumental growth in the banking industry was the emergence of “sharp practices” perpetrated by the operators in the industry. These “sharp practices” later metamorphosed into malpractices that resulted in the collapse of many financial institutions. Banking malpractices also commonly referred to as “bank fraud”, “elite” or “white collar” crimes have permeated the very fabric of the banking industry causing monumental havoc and leading to human and financial loses.
Apart from various laws that are designed to check incidences of bank malpractices in the country, there are also various institutions charged with the responsibility of combating cases of unethical practices. The Police is one of the institutions saddled with the responsibility of combating unethical and fraudulent practices through the investigation and prosecution of cases. Thus the offenders of bank malpractices are brought before the law courts for prosecution by the police and if convicted, sentenced accordingly. This paper is therefore, intended to critically assess the role played by the police in curtailing fraudulent practices in the banking industry in Nigeria.
Meaning and Nature of
One thing seems to be common among the above definitions. Malpractice connotes a conduct or practice that is improper or illegal. However, the definition of malpractice contained in Black’s Law Dictionary appears to be too wide as it defines malpractice to mean an act of negligence of a professional. Perhaps, what is contemplated in the above definition is professional negligence that may be committed by a medical doctor or legal practitioner. But banking malpractice which is the focus herein, contemplates a manifestation of some kind of fraudulent acts or intention that are against the ethics of the banking profession or against the law in general. Ebhodaghe further elucidates that “by malpractice, we mean broadly an impermissible practice or improper treatment of an issue. In other words, it refers to that practice that is against the rules and regulations or is forbidden by law.”7
Prof. Adeyemi conceptualizes the term malpractice as “those practices which are not only just contrary to the ethics of the banking profession but are against the various banking laws and regulations.”8 Malpractices have also been referred to as corruption and economic crimes. Hence, Joe Goldface – Irokalize states as follows: Banking malpractice, alternatively referred to as corruption and economic crimes, constitute the genus of what is generally known as and commonly called “elite” or “white collar” crimes.”9
Categories of Malpractices
in the Banking Industry in Nigeria
i. Insider dealings,
Malpractices by the Bank as
a Corporate Body
Malpractices by Bank Customers/Outsiders
i. Advance Fee Fraud,
It is pertinent to point out that the above categorization is not water-tight as the perpetrators and the pattern of execution often overlap. For instance, bank malpractices such as forgery of negotiable instruments, cheque malpractices, computer fraud and cheque knitting may be committed by a bank employee or by a bank customer.
Establishment of the Police
There shall be a Police Force Nigeria which shall be known as the Nigeria Police Force and subject to the provision of this section, no other Police Force shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof.
Section 214(2)b of the constitution (as amended) further provides thus:
The members of the Nigeria Police Force shall have such powers and duties as may be conferred on them by law.
It has been argued that the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) as a parallel body to discharge the same function of the police is contrary to Section 214(1) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).12 However, the court is yet to pronounce on the constitutionally of the EFCC Act.
Duties of the Police
i. The prevention and
detection of crime;
Arguably, most of the above responsibilities of the Police appear to be performed also by another government agency which is the Economic and Financial Committee (EFCC).
Apart from the above
duties, the Police is further empowered under the Police Act to conduct
however, subject to the powers of
the Attorney-General of the Federation and of the State.14
In Federal Republic of Nigeria vs. Osahon and Seven others,15
the Supreme Court held, inter alia, that as much as the police
have the authority under the Police Act to prosecute, the Police
Officers can prosecute cases up to the highest court of the land.
However, the Supreme Court further held, that the powers of Attorney
General come in for the purpose of undertaking, continuing or
discontinuing criminal prosecutions. This invariably means that the
police can prosecute up to the highest court of the land without the
fiat of the Attorney-General but however subject to the powers of the
Attorney-General to discharge his duties under section 174 of the
The Role of the Police in the Prevention and Control of Bank Malpractices
i. Investigation and Prosecution of Bank Fraud
The police have been subjected to a whole lot of allegations or criticisms in the way and manner, they carry out their investigation of bank fraud cases. Chuks Nwaze commented thus:
There is a category of allegations that is particularly worrisome because of its tendency to oil the engine of fraud in the banking system. This has to do with the concept of “highest bidder” in fraud investigation especially when a bank has lost of money to a fraudster. That is while the fraudster is willing and able to role out a percentage of his loot to exonerate himself, the bank is unwilling to dish out good money to pursue the one that is clearly going down the drain. In other words, the bank can never pay as much as the fraudster is willing to pay; the outcome of such Police investigations are predictable and the fraudster smiles home to go and plan his next target.20
The above scenario depicts a very pathetic situation concerning the police investigation of bank fraud cases. In practice, it is better not to report a bank fraud case to the police than to do so. The police will compound the problem by detaining all the bank workers connected with the act as if it is only by detention they can go to the root of the matter. It becomes difficult for the bank staff to regain his or her freedom without having to negotiate the ‘price’ depending on the status of the officer involved.21 The slogan that bail is free becomes a myth rather than a reality.
It is pertinent to point
out that the bankers’ duty of secrecy like all other fiduciary duties is
a duty of reasonable care and not an absolute one.22
For instance, where an
unauthorized person manages to tap into the bank’s electronic system,
notwithstanding sophisticated electronic “defenses" or “safeguard”, the
bank should not be held liable, since it had taken due care to protect
its records. Thus, in Habib Nigeria Bank vs. Koya,23
the respondent was a customer of the appellant bank, where he maintained
a foreign currency account. He also maintained another account with a
bank in Saudi Arabia. In March 1990, he instructed the appellant to
transfer the sum of $7,700 to his Saudi Arabian bank account, which the
appellant did. In April 1990, a stranger purporting to be the respondent
instructed the Saudi Arabian Bank to transfer the sum of $7,700 to the
account of one Matlub, whom the respondent did not know. A photocopy of
the respondent’s letter of March 1990 was attached to the stranger’s
letter of April, 1990. The respondent sued the bank for negligence,
alleging that the fraud was perpetrated because of the appellant’s
failure to keep his March, 1990 letter secret. The respondent was unable
to prove the case. In allowing the appeal, the court held that,
… this duty is however
within the ordinary meaning of transactions and what transpires in the
ordinary cause of business and does not extend to factors and situations
that are beyond the bank’s control and power.
Many factors were taken into consideration by the Appeal Court in arriving at the decision. The Appeal Court relied heavily on the testimony of the banks witness, to the effect that the bank took all necessary precautionary measures to keep the transaction between it and the customer confidential and secret.
Access to evidence in bank fraud cases is a major hurdle the police would have to overcome. The banking system requires non-disclosure and confidentiality in handling transactions on behalf of their customers. It is a fiduciary relationship. Thus a bank is not supposed to disclose the state of affairs of a customer’s account to a third party, though with some exceptions. This is otherwise called the Banks’ duty of secrecy or confidentiality. It is a common law rule. The banker is however, entitled to disclose information about his customers in four circumstances, viz, where disclosure is compelled by law, where the banker owes a duty of disclosure to the public, when disclosure is required in the interest of the bank and when the customer consents.24
The Police prosecutors have
fallen back on the first exception, which is when disclosure is
compelled by law to gain access to the bank’s books of account. Section
7 of the Bankers’ Book Evidence Act 187925 allows
access to the Bankers’ books of account. It states as follows:
On application of any party
to a legal proceeding, a court or judge may order that such party be at
liberty to inspect and take copies or any entries in a banker’s book for
the purpose of such proceedings. An order under this section may be made
either with or without summoning the bank or any other party and shall
be served on the bank or any other party three clear days before the
same is obeyed unless the court or judge otherwise directs.
Relying on the above
provision, the police have been able to obtain court orders to inspect
the bank accounts of suspected offenders and to obtain relevant
evidence. Sometimes, even when no charge has been preferred against a
suspect and trial has not begun, with the co-operation of the banks, the
police use such orders to inspect and obtain relevant evidence.26
This practice was criticised in the case of International Merchant
Bank Ltd. Vs. Magistrate Titus Agbolade, Inspector General of
Police, and Attorney-General of the Federation27
where the police sought and obtained an order of a Magistrate under
Section 7 of the Bankers Book of Evidence Act 1879 to inspect and take
copies of ledgers of account of a customer of the then International
Merchant Bank (IMB). In granting an order of certiorari to quash the
order of the Magistrate Court, the Learned Judge, Justice Omotosho
quoted from the ruling of Taylor C. J. (as he then was) who had observed
It is difficult for me to
imagine for one moment that the practice, such as a practice taking
place in all magistrate courts, in truth and in fact takes place. I find
it hard to believe that such a grave violation of private rights can be
sanctioned by our courts without hearing of the person affected, without
any proceedings civil or criminal being before the court and in such a
way as to leave no record in our courts that can be challenged or from
which even a certified true copy can be made.
The Learned Trial Judge
then held that the Learned Magistrate disregarded the provision of
Section 7 of the Bankers Book of Evidence Act under which the order was
purportedly made, since the section required an order to be made only
when proceedings were pending before the court.
It has been submitted that the court has discretion as to whether or not to make the order of compulsion. The court will weigh the need to respect confidentiality against public interest. Such power of compulsion is usually exercised with great caution and is only exercised where the grounds for it are clearly established and sufficient. It further submitted that the court must be satisfied either that the account in question is that of a party to the litigation or that he is so concerned with the account that items in it would be evidence against him.28 Three major issues stand out: Firstly, the violation of private right of the party concerned under the constitution. The constitution protects the right to private life of the party and this of course extends to his or her bank account. Secondly, there is the right to fair hearing. The need to adhere to the principles of audi alteram patem. Thirdly, there is the need to prevent fraud and financial malpractices through statutory provisions, even though such may derogate from the right of privacy of the party concerned.
To balance competing interests of all the parties concerned, it is submitted that in such a situation, notice of the application to the court must be given to both the bank and the third party concerned. Furthermore, the applicant must present before the court sufficient materials by way of affidavit and relevant exhibits. An application without cogent and sufficient supporting facts should not be granted by the court. In that case, the court is entitled to declare that such an applicant has not disregarded the burden placed on him or her.29
In practice, the police do not bother to adhere to the above suggestions; such applications are made by the police to the magistrate or judge without any supporting affidavit deposed by them. Based on such application, orders are routinely and freely issued ex parte by magistrates without taking into consideration the rights of the customer. In fact, in most cases, police are said to have in their possession already print out forms which they fill at their offices and take to the magistrates or judges for their endorsement.30 This is not in compliance with Section 7 of the Bankers Book Evidence Act 1879. It is also pertinent to state that Section 7 does not empower the court based on the application of the police to freeze the customers’ account.31
Still on the investigation and prosecution of bank fraud cases by the police, Section 91(1) (e) of the Evidence Act32 provides an exception to the general rule that proof of document should be by tendering of primary evidence33 and lays down the procedure for such proof. It states that copies of entries in bankers books cannot be received in evidence unless it is first proved that the the entry was made in the usual and ordinary course of business and that the book is in the custody and control of the bank. Such proof may be given orally or by affidavit by a partner or officer of the bank the copy must have been examined with the original entry and must be correct, which proof must be given by someone who has examined the copy with the original entry. This is to ensure that proper foundation is laid before such evidence is given.34
i. Delay and/or refusal to report bank fraud cases to the police: Most banks are reluctant to report bank fraud cases to the police so as not to attract publicity. Banks often perceive that their image as secure and trustworthy financial institutions will be spurned thereby reducing the numerical strength of their customers. Sometimes even when reports are made to the police, the banks refuse to follow up at the police station and to even assist in the investigation and prosecution of the offenders thereby aiding the offender to escape justice. Thus, it is one thing to report but another thing to follow up.
ii. Unwillingness of bank officials to volunteer statements to the police: Most bank employees are unwilling to volunteer statements to the police for fear of being called as a witness to testify in the matter. Furthermore, in certain cases, the bank may refuse to provide the necessary documents to aid the police in the investigation and prosecution of the matter. This usually happens where a top official of the bank is involved in the matter.
iii. Lack of Infrastructure and Manpower: The dearth of infrastructures in the police formation is a major setback in the investigation and prosecution of bank fraud cases by the police. To be able to handle effectively and efficiently, the investigation and prosecution of bank fraud cases, the police have to be sufficiently equipped to carry out such responsibilities. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case. Investigation of bank fraud cases is highly technical and requires expertise knowledge. Most bank fraud cases are carried out through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Most police formations cannot even boast of a single computer to enable the investigator to store and retrieve necessary information or to prepare adequately for the case. Besides, the police do not have sufficient manpower to handle the investigation and prosecution of bank fraud cases. With the ever-increasing rates of computer fraud now prevailing in the country, the Nigerian Police Force of today will certainly not be able to cope with these offences considering the sophisticated dimension in the manner and methods the offences are committed.35 In fact, some of the methods have assumed international dimension quite beyond the capability of the Nigerian Police Force to investigate.36
iv. Lack of training and re-training of officers: Most police officers who are investigators or prosecutors are not well educated especially those who prosecute at the Magistrate Courts. Quite a good number of police prosecutors at the Magistrate Court level are holders of WASC or Ordinary Diploma. The investigation and prosecution of bank fraud cases are not jobs for a police officer whose minimum qualification is WASC or Ordinary Diploma.37
In 2008, it was reported in a national daily to the effect that police trainers from the United States of America and the United Kingdom would arrive in the country to train their Nigerian counter-parts on investigative skills. The report further stated that the training would cover homicide detection, crime scene investigation, cyber crime and forensic technology.38
v. Present structure of the people: Perhaps, the most important factor militating against the effectiveness of the police in combating criminality in the banking sector is its present structure.39 The present structure of the Nigerian Police Force does not promote specialization. It makes an average policemen jack-of-all-trades and master of none. He moves from guard beat to patrol and from that to orderly, investigation, prosecution, traffic and so on.40 Sometimes, he is moved from one part of the country to another in the name of transfer. This makes specialization and acquisition of certain skills near impossible. Frequent transfer of such policemen distorts the investigative process as a new person posted to the place would have to start afresh.
First, there should be proper funding of the police to assist them in the fight against bank fraud in the country.
Secondly, in the investigation and prosecution of bank fraud cases by the police, the bank officials should assist the police by providing the necessary logistics to the police
prosecutors. Witnesses who are bank officials should be ready to volunteer statements and give evidence in court. Relevant documents should also be made available to the police prosecutors.
Thirdly, bank fraud cases are highly technical and require expertise knowledge. Sufficient trained manpower should be provided. Equipment like computers to store and retrieve information should be made available to all the police formations. More professionals should be recruited into the Police Force to boost their manpower especially in the area of investigation and prosecution of cases.
Fourthly, logistics in terms of vehicles should be provided for the investigators to move around to do their jobs.
Fifthly, police officers working in the criminal investigation and legal departments should be trained or re-trained on investigation skills, information technology and techniques in crime detection, prevention and control.
Sixthly, the present structure of the Nigerian Police Force should be re-organised to enhance specialization in certain fields. Policemen who are in the criminal investigation and legal department should be rarely transferred from where they are working to another station.
Furthermore, there is need
to post one or two policemen working in the criminal investigation and
intelligence department of the police to the banks to assist in the area
monitoring and surveillance.
1 O. Akanle, “Legal and Institutional Framework for
the Control and Prevention of Crime in the Banking Industry in Nigeria”,
Ajibola and Awa (eds) Banking and Other Financial Malpractices in
Nigeria (Lagos and Oxford, Matlhouse Press 1990) at 2
3 J. Eghodaghe, “Malpractices in the Banking
Industry: Nature, Types, Causes and Remedies”, in Safe and Sound
Banking Practice in Nigeria: Selected Essays (Lagos, Page Publishers
1997) at 160
4 New International Webster’s Comprehensive
Dictionary of English Language Encyclopaedic Edition, (Typhoon
International Corporation 2003) at 112.
5 New World Dictionary, (Siman and Sclustr
2nd Edition), at 140.
6 B. A. Garner (ed.) Black’s Law Dictionary,
(London, Thompson West Publishing 8th Edition 2004) at 978.
7 Malpractice in the Banking Industry: Nature,
Types, Causes and Remedies in Safe and Sound Banking Practice: Selected
Essays, op.cit. at 161.
8 Malpractice in the Banking Industry: Ajibola B.,
and Awa, U. K. (eds.) in Banking and other Financial Malpractices in
Nigeria (Lagos and Oxford, Malthouse Press 1999) at 14
9 Eradication of Banking Malpractices in Nigeria:
Will Law alone Succeed” (1995) CBN Economic and Finance Review at
10 The term “Bank fraud” is used interchangeably here
as Bank Malpractice though Bank fraud form part of Bank Malpractices
11 Police Act, Laws of the Federation, 2010 Cap
12 Omoruyi I. , Policing Financial Crimes in Nigeria:
“A Critical Examination of Offences under the EFC Act, 2002” (2004)
Modern Practice Journal of Finance and Investment Law. at 639
13 Laws of the Federation, 2010. Cap P18
14 S. 23 of the Act
16 Ahmadu, B. “Investigation of Bank Fraud and Other Malpractices”, Ajibola, B. and Awa U.K.
(ed) Banking and Other
Financial Malpractices (Lagos and Oxford, Malthouse Press 1990)
19 Ahmadu, B., op. cit. p. 107
20 Nwaze, C., op. cit p. 170
21 Ajala, A. “Banking and the Rule of Law”
Business Guardian, Friday, March 1, 2002, p. 45.
22 Kukoyi, F. “The Law and the Bankers Duty of Secrecy Matters Arising”, Proceedings of
the 2006 National Seminar
on Banking & Allied Matters for Judges organised (2006) at 43
23 (1992) 7 NWLR (Pt. 251) p. 43.
24 Tournier v. National Provincial Bank (1924)
1 KB 461
25 Statute of General Application
26 Osinbajo, Y., “Some Problems of Proof in Bank Frauds and Other Financial Malpractices”
Akpoba, H and Awam U. K. (ed) Banking and Other Financial Malpractices in Nigeria (Lagos and Oxford
Mallhouse Press (1990) at
27 Suit No. No.M/126/86 Unreported. Cited in
Osinbajo, Y., op. cit P. 115.
28 Kukoyi, F., op. cit. p. 48
29 Ibid, p. 49
30 Kukoyi, F. op. cit. p. 49
31 Onaguruwa v. IGP (1991) 5 NWLR (Pt. 193)
32 Laws of the Federation 2010
33 Ibid. S. 88
& Investment Law, (2004) at 389.
U.K. (ed) Banking and
Other Financial Malpractices in Nigeria (Lagos and Oxford, Malthouse
Press 1990) at 41.