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CBN probes forex dealers for imports regulations violation

The Central Bank of Nigeria has said it is probing some dealers for allegedly procuring foreign currencies for the purpose of importing items, which had been designated as invalid for the Nigerian foreign exchange market.

Following an ex parte application by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on Monday, the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered that the bank accounts of the suspects should be frozen for 180 days to allow for investigation by the apex bank.

The names of the bank accounts frozen by Justice Muslim Hassan are Raufu Folashade, Yusufu Ali, Ali Yusufu and Ali Yusufu.

Emefiele told the court that the illegal activities of the dealers had continually undermined the CBN’s “efforts to maintain a stable foreign exchange regime, which causes significant economic and financial instability to the Nigerian economy.”

Counsel for the CBN, Adekola Mustapha, told Justice Hassan that there was an urgent need to freeze the four bank accounts because “there is a strong probability that the respondents may tamper with the funds currently in their various bank accounts, which are strongly connected to or being strongly suspected to be proceeds of the serious infractions of the foreign exchange market regulations.”

In the supporting affidavit to the ex parte application, a litigation officer in Mustapha’s office, Afolabi Oyelodun, said, “Preliminary investigation revealed that the respondents applied the foreign exchange obtained from the CBN, through their various bank accounts, to fund transactions in some prohibited items, leading to serious infractions and violation of the CBN circular, TED/FEM/GEN/01/010 of June 23, 2015”

He said, “The activities of the respondents now under investigation constitute serious risk to the financial stability of the foreign exchange market and the economy at large.”

Justice Hassan granted the application as prayed.

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