Security agencies after firms involved in forex racketeering, says CBN

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says security agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission are investigating questionable foreign exchange allocations and forward contracts previously estimated at $2.4bn made by certain firms.

Recently, the apex bank engaged a global firm, Deloitte, to carry out an audit of the $7 billion debts, revealing that about $2.4bn FX allocations from the $7bn backlogs were invalid. Briefing journalists in Abuja after the 294th meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee, the CBN governor, Olayemi Cardoso, said security agencies were investigating the FX transactions that had been declared invalid by the audit report.

Cardoso said law enforcement authorities would unravel issues around foreign exchange transactions that did not meet the standards of the regulatory agency, saying the report of Deloitte consultants revealed that the majority of the transactions did not meet the criteria for payment. “Recall that when we came in September, we had a backlog of forward transactions which were contractual and which had already been contracted before we came in. It was clear to us that it was very important in the interest of the credibility of the central bank, which then was very much in question, we were able to satisfy and take care of these forwards,” he said.

“During a Senate hearing, I had actually made reference to this and said that this would be a priority to ensure that we take care of these forwards within the resource constraints we had. And that was why, on a regular basis, I tried to address the issue with the press and be as transparent as possible to allow Nigerians to know exactly where we stood and what we were doing.

“During that period we settled certain tranches and then we got wind of the fact that, well, there were several transactions which, quite frankly, had some issues concerning the genuineness of them. That was how we brought in Deloitte management consultants who took time, and this did take months. This is not something that happened overnight.

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