Categories: BusinessOn the Go

Don’t sell FX to customers not travelling abroad, EFCC warns banks

Author:
Wasilat Azeez

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has warned banks against selling foreign exchange (FX) to customers with no intention of travelling outside the country.

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Nwanneka Nwokike, commander of the Uyo zonal command of the commission, issued this warning on Wednesday when he met with chief compliance officers of banks in the zone.

In July, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to set up teller points to meet legitimate forex demands.

The development was due to the discontinuation of FX sales to Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators.

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In a statement by Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC spokesperson, Nwokike was quoted to have said indications have emerged that some bank customers present fake travel documents to obtain foreign exchange.

He urged banks to verify documents presented by customers seeking to buy foreign exchange.

Nwokike said the anti-graft agency, under the leadership of Abdulrasheed Bawa, would not hesitate to clamp down on forex offenders, be they bank officials or customers.

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“Always report bank officials who collude with criminal elements to collect foreign exchange,” Nwokike said.

“There are very strong indications that it is happening; go back and sensitise your staff, to ensure that they always do the right thing because ‘doing the right thing’ has become the new normal; therefore, proper verification of documents presented by customers for forex must be done.

“Again, the commission will not entertain excuses and will no longer look away when banks fail to do their due diligence.”

While responding to the issue of customers who book foreign flights and cancel after collecting foreign exchange from banks, Hamidu Bawa, the deputy zonal commander, instructed the compliance officers to report such customers to the EFCC.

“When you observe such offenders, report them to the commission and provide their BVN along, because after now, the liability will be on you, and I’m sure you don’t want that to happen,” he said.

On Thursday, the Nigerian naira depreciated to 540 per dollar — its lowest level in 48 years. At the importer and exporter(I&E) window, the currency closed at N411.67 to the dollar.

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