EFCC Recovers Over $6million From Bureau De Change Operators

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has said that some Bureau De Change operators who were recently arrested in Lagos, Abuja and other parts of Nigeria were in possession of over $6 million.

The EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, who made this known while speaking on the Nigerian Television Authority’s (NTA) said that the arrests were part of efforts of the anti-graft agency to sanitise the foreign exchange sector.

Bawa spoke as one of the guests invited to discuss the topic ‘’Sanitizing Ungoverned Operators in the Forex Sector” on Good Morning Nigeria, a breakfast programme on the Network Service of the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA.

The EFCC Chairman was represented by the Commission’s Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol on the programme.

According to him, EFCC’s arrest of BDC operators and currency speculators in the parallel market was not indiscriminate but a product of intelligence.

“At EFCC, we work with intelligence and with other stakeholders; and when we talk of illegal forex operators you cannot just invite people on the street even though sometimes you could, but generally you do not have a choice but to make arrest”.

He stressed that the Commission considers foreign exchange malpractice as an economic crime against the Nigerian state, adding that the Commission as far back as 2016 established a full-fledge Section known as Foreign Exchange Malpractices Section and for over ten years maintained visible “presence at all airports in the country to checkmate incidences of bulk cash movement outside Nigeria which is another aspect of this menace.”

Through the Commission’s presence at the major gateway into the country, many arrests of cash smugglers have been made and humungous sums in foreign currencies recovered.

“Some were arrested with excess of $6 Million (Six Million United States Dollars), others with $2 Million (Two Million United States Dollars) and we know that these huge sums were not meant to be used in buying goods but stolen monies being laundered out of the country,” he said

Chukkol further stated that EFCC not only recovered some of these monies but secured their forfeiture to the federal government, while the culprits were prosecuted.

He emphasized the need for active inter-agency and stakeholder collaboration, pointing out that many of the over 6,000 registered BDCs do not belong to the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria and therefore out of the orbit of regulators.

“The CBN guidelines are clear regarding returns by BDCs, but how many of them do this,” he asked.

Other discussants in the programme include the Director of the Monitoring Policy Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN Dr Hassan Mahmud, President, of the Association of Bureau De Change of Change Operators of Nigeria, Dr Aminu Gwadebe, a finance and investment analyst, Niyi Akinsuji and a commentator on financial issues and Managing Director of Timeline Consult, Shuabu Idris in their respective contributions identified the issue of Nigeria being an import driven economy, lack of adequate penalty, shortage of trained manpower, and identification of what truly constitutes ‘black market’ beyond the institutional banking system as some of the problems bedevilling the fight against foreign exchange malpractice in Nigeria.

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Ilesanmi Adekanbi

Ilesanmi Adekanbi, writers and loves writing the story of politics, He is a movie addict. Adekanbi is a Senior Content Creator at Newsflash Nigeria contact me on email: [email protected]

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