THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reportedly fined major banks and bureau de change operators hundreds of millions for committing all forms of infraction including selling foreign exchange to unauthorized persons, The Nation has learnt.
Speaking with some informed sources from two new generation banks, they confided in our correspondent that some banks were penalised recently for a forms of infractions bordering on forex racketeering.
Specifically, the sources said, “At issue is that some of the deposit money banks were involved in all forms of infractions, chief among which include selling forex to customers who otherwise were not allowed under the extant CBN guidelines to access same. What some of the banks did was to get forex at official rate and later resell to those illegal channels. When the CBN found out, the banks concerned were promptly fined. The same penalty applied to bureau de change operators.”
The President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Mr. Aminu Gwadabe, who confirmed the development in a phone interview with our correspondent, said his members who were fingered in the forex racketeering saga had pledged to cooperate with the government.
Gwadabe recalled that his members held a meeting with the CBN last November in collaboration with the State Security Service (SSS), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on the need for the BDCs to adhere to the rules governing foreign exchange transactions.
According to ABCON boss, “At a meeting with the CBN November last year, the apex bank wanted outright revocation of 100 BDCs licenses but we settled for the N5million fine. A lot of banks were also fined hundreds of millions for similar infractions, so it’s not only BDC operators alone that are culpable.”
“We were told to follow the rules and make sure we cooperate with them. We have agreed to carry our members along on that, in ensuring that compliance is strictly observed. We have been sensitising our members and we have been holding meetings.
It may be recalled that the CBN had in 2015 released an import prohibition list for items banned from accessing forex exchange from commercial banks.
– The Nation