Forex abuse: CBN goes tough on Baba Ijebu, others

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reportedly ordered commercial banks to Post-No-Debit on account of 38 companies’ accounts over alleged forex abuse.

The list includes the accounts of Premier Lotto Ltd a popular lotto company and the owners of the widely used “Baba Ijebu ” lotto platform. It also includes several Bureau De Change operators, oil and gas firms and several other companies.

Recall that the apex bank had on August 26 announced it will go tough on exporters who are guilty of forex non-repatriation.

It also directed banks to submit the names, addresses, and Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) of all the exporters who have failed to repatriate their export proceeds. And warned “necessary ‘action’ would be taken against such defaulters.

A few days earlier the CBN issued a circular removing buying agents/companies or any third parties from accessing its SMIS forex window through FORM M forex purchases.

The apex banks instructed that “Authorized Dealers are hereby directed to desist from the opening of Form M whose payment is routed through a buying company/agent or any other third parties” effectively eliminating third parties or middlemen from transacting in forex deals in its official SMIS window.”

It was gathered that one of the Lotto companies on the list transferred $420 million abroad “under the guise of purchasing software” but the funds were later traced to the bank accounts of some of its directors.

“The forex was sourced from the black market, thereby putting pressure on the exchange rate. The gaming companies are awash with naira which sit in their bank accounts, so they devised a way of moving the funds abroad,” a source disclosed.