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.
Speaking on “Sanitizing Ungoverned Operators in the Forex Sector” Bawa who was represented by the Commission’s Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol, said that the EFCC’s arrest of BDC operators and currency speculators in the parallel market was not indiscriminate but a product of intelligence.
He said that “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 an arrest.”
“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 noted that the commission did not only recover some of the monies but secured their forfeiture to the Nigerian government while the culprits were prosecuted.
Bawa also emphasised the need for active inter-agency and stakeholder’s 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.
He said that “The CBN guidelines are clear regarding returns by BDCs, but how many of them do this.”