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Commission seeks tougher sanctions for issuers of dud cheques

The Nigerian Law Reform Commission (NLRC) has called for tougher sanctions for issuers of dud cheques as it is set to amend the law to include stiffer penalties for offenders.

The Chairman of the Commission, Professor

Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor

who made this call at a workshop on the reform of the Dishonoured  Cheques (Offences) Act, said that the law was no longer serving the purpose for which it was enacted.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had, in a circular of July 5th, 2013 to Banks and Other Financial Institutions on Dud Cheques, said that between January 2012 and December  2012 over 167,507 dud cheques with a total value of N166 billion were processed by deposit money banks.

Osunbor, who gave a brief history of the Act said that the Dishonoured Cheques Act which came into force on May 20th, 1997, was passed to curb the issuance of dishonoured cheques in Nigeria which he said became prevalent during the Udoji Award that followed the oil boom.

Osunbor said: “Thirty seven years since the commencement of the Act, the issuance of dishonoured cheques remain on the  increase in Nigeria especially in recent times.”

He said that research conducted by the Commission revealed that despite the existence of the Act, incidents of dishonoured cheques still abound.

Osunbor recommended that the law should be amended to reflect additional grounds for dishonouring a cheque.

He also suggested that the penalties for issuing dud cheques be reviewed upward while provisions to compensate victims of dud cheques should also be included.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Bello Adoke, SAN, said there was an urgent need to amend the Act.

The Minister who was represented by one of his assistants, Mr Bola Odugbesan, said that a reform of the law would enhance the CBN Cashless/Cash-lite policy by ensuring a reliable and secure payment system through the issue of cheques.

Adoke said that the reform of the Dishonoured Cheques Act was in tandem with the President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s  effort to reform the economic sector as well as activate institutions to promote efficiency, good governance and the war against corruption.

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