THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said that it had recovered about $20 million worth of cryptocurrency from Internet fraudsters.
EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa stated this when he appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday.
Bawa said that the recovered digital currency had been saved in the crypto-wallet operated by the commission.
He lamented that cybercriminals were taking advantage of the non-regulation of the cryptocurrency space to perpetuate criminal acts.
“As it is today, there is nowhere in the world where cryptocurrency is being regulated. The EFCC is looking at an avenue in which people are laundering and receiving proceeds of crime and that is our worry,” he said.
“We have seen time and time again where cybercriminals are using this avenue to get their proceeds of crime. Before it used to be through money transfer agencies like Money Gram and of cause Western Union. Now they have gone E. They will defraud somebody. They will get gift cards, exchange them on the dark web, and they will use the proceeds to buy crypto, and they can get it to their e-wallet, and then, of course, they can sell and get their money.
“As it is today, we have about 20 million dollars worth of cryptocurrency as of last statistics that I have because we also created our own e-wallet to recover cryptocurrency, you know it has never happened before but we created it and we are now recovering these proceeds of crime from that means as well.”
In February, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed commercial banks across the country to discontinue cryptocurrency-related services. The apex bank also warned Nigerians against trading and investing in cryptocurrency because of its volatile nature.
The bank noted that cryptocurrency had become an avenue for fraud and money laundering due to its decentralised nature.
Speaking further on Sunrise Daily, Bawa commended the CBN for limiting avenues through which criminals laundered proceeds of crime in the country.
“We are in support of what the CBN has done because it has limited the ways in which some of these criminals can exchange their crypto and get naira for it,” the EFCC boss added.