* Promises to deal with illegal forex trader, keeps MPR at 11.5%

James Emejo and Sonia Mayomi in Abuja

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele yesterday promised to send the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other security agencies after Nigerians fraudulently acquired currency under form of Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) / Business Travel Allowance (BTA) from banks.

The CBN, in a recent circular, said the flaws in its foreign exchange policy were customers who obtain PTA / BTA from banks, using fake visas, and others who cancel their flights and fail to return them. PTA / BTA purchased within two weeks as stipulated in the signed customer declaration form.

The governor of the CBN, while answering reporters’ questions at the end of a two-day Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, said there was evidence that people had bought currencies to banks using fake visas, and under the guise of traveling. , to cancel their tickets later.

He said a particular study showed that one of the banks was selling currencies to 52 people who said they wanted to travel.
Emefiele said: “After two weeks they went to check and 40 of the 52 had canceled their tickets. How could you have a situation where about 70% or 80% of the people who went to a bank to buy BTA under the pretext that they wanted to travel cancel the trip?

“The bank sold them but they turned around and then went and sold it on the black market because they wanted to profit from the arbitrage.”

Emefiele said such fraudulent means of acquiring currency would no longer go unpunished, adding that the CBN was committed to responding to all legitimate requests for Fx in the country.

He said, “However, if you go to a bank with a fake bill, a fake visa, a fake passport, we told them not to sell you. If they mistakenly sell you because you tricked them into selling you and after two weeks they have checked and found that you have canceled your ticket or that your visa is wrong, they will call you because you are their customer; they have your BVN, they have your number – they will call you to return the dollars.

“If you don’t return it, they will place your name on their website, your BVN on their website and we will pick those details and send them to the EFCC and other criminal agencies and they will sue you, you have to give back the dollars because you can’t acquire it illegally, that’s our position.

The governor of the CBN also announced that the bank would hunt down and cause AbokiFx founder Mr. Oniwinde Adedotun to reserve for alleged currency speculative activity “which amounted to economic sabotage.”
Emefiele said that Adedotun carried out nefarious and criminal activities against the Nigerian economy by engaging in forex speculation in violation of CBN law which gave the umbrella bank sole responsibility for determining the rate of the Naira.

The Governor of the CBN said: “We found him as a Nigerian who lives in England and is carrying out this nefarious and criminal activity on our economy. It is economic sabotage and we will pursue it wherever it is. We will denounce it to the international security agencies.

“We will hunt him down, Mr. Oniwinde, we will find you, because we cannot allow you to continue to carry out illegal activity which is killing our economy. “
He described Oniwinde as an illegal currency dealer who launched Operation AbokiFx in 2015, adding that he has since deceived the economy by taking a stand and manipulating the exchange rate to the detriment of the economy.

Emefiele said the CBN had investigated AbokiFx’s activities for the past two and a half years, adding that since starting operations in 2015, the company has continued to file the same £ 1,000 bankruptcy with the government. British for four consecutive years. .

He alleged that in Nigeria, the company had more than 25 bank accounts with about eight naira and dollar banks with significant turnover, which indicated that he had operated the system through naira speculative information activities and that he had collected his cash income through an ATM in London.
Nonetheless, the governor of the CBN said the bank would continue to do its job of protecting the financial system for the benefit of all.

“A few questions: Have Nigerians ever wondered how exactly AbokiFx collects its data which it publishes on its website? How many BDCs can claim to have seen an AbokiFx staff member come and ask for the daily rates or how many BDCs send daily exchange rate returns to AbokiFx. How then do they determine what the rate is and illegally post them on their website.

“In what other country will a single unlicensed person be the one setting the exchange rate in that country?” How is it that he fixes the exchange rate of our own country, and why does he not fix the exchange rate of the pound and the dollar or the pound and the South African rand? Why target Nigeria, and yet you are Nigerian?

“You chose to live in London, to take advantage of all the loot in London at the expense of Nigerian blood. You will pay for it.
“Section 2 of the CBN Act makes it clear that only the Central Bank can determine the value of the naira, and yet a single unscrupulous individual who lives in London continues to manipulate the exchange for Nigerians, continues to make huge profits. , continues to collect these profits from ATMs in London as ordinary Nigerians suffer the consequences of these actions. We will not allow this to happen again. “

The umbrella bank also decided yesterday to keep the monetary policy rate (MPR), also known as the interest rate, at 11.5% and the asymmetric corridor of + 100 / -700 basis points around the MPR. .
It kept the cash reserve ratio (CRR) at 27.5 percent and the liquidity ratio at 30 percent.
The MPR is the rate at which the CBN lends to commercial banks and often determines the cost of borrowing in the economy.

Aboki FX speaks

Meanwhile, online forex update platform Aboki FX responded to allegations against it last night, saying it will no longer provide daily currency updates following complaints from the CBN that it is responsible for the current crisis in the Forex market which has brought the naira to its knees.
Aboki FX said in a statement that he will no longer release exchange rates for the time being and hopes the naira stabilizes.

“Aboki FX is fully functional but we will not post any form of rate on our platform at this time. We sincerely hope that this suspension will lead to appreciation of the naira from next week. With our decision to temporarily suspend the publication of online tariffs, we are aware that there will be limited visibility of information on parallel tariffs, which will have an impact on decision-making for many, ”he said. declared.

The platform denied having manipulated the market, adding that there was no way it could have such power.
He further stated that he usually obtains his information from the money changer operators in Lagos.

“None of our data source providers know who we are or what their rates are for. This is to avoid any manipulation of rates. It is a daily routine for our staff to go to the market to collect the rates, as all BDCs in the country have their rates clearly displayed on their rate boards and the parallel market dealers give the information freely. All we do is put all of this information together and post it daily across all of our platforms, ”the company said.
Regarding the fraud allegations made against its founder, Olusegun Oniwinde, by the governor of the CBN, the company said these allegations were not proven.

The company has stated that it does not trade forex and it has always stated this on social media.
“Aboki FX only provides benchmark parallel rate information that helps guide our users in nearly 200 countries around the world. Aboki FX does not trade the currencies that we have always maintained in our emails and social media platforms, ”he said.

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