N30trn forex scam: Senate says funds illegally transferred out of Nigeria

The Senate which earlier this week accused some commercial banks and the Nigeria Customs Service in a N30 trillion forex scam said the money was illegally transferred out of the country using Customs Service form M.

National Daily that the foreign currencies were purchased by the banks for importers but were never used. Senate Committee on Customs and Excise Duties Hope Uzodinma made the revelation during an interview with pressmen just after the committee met in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

According to Uzodinma, the Committee discovered high level manipulation of foreign exchange of around N30trillion which was purchase on behalf of importers by banks, and was illegally transferred out of Nigeria which resulted into the current forex scarcity.

Uzondinma said that ‘FORM M’, designed by the Nigeria Customs and Excise Duties for importation of goods, was used to carry out the foreign exchange manipulations.

“The Committee has discovered that the whooping sum of N30 trillion foreign exchange were purchased from the Central Bank on behalf of importers, but were never utilized. “We have also discovered that all banks were involved including those that have closed shop, but we’re fused into the existing ones.”

Uzodinma is however confident that the probe would elicit the appropriate actions that would stop the scam and raise the value of the Naira.

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The multiple exchange policy has masked the pressure the currency is under and made it difficult to attract inflows as investors struggle to price naira assets.

The central bank, opposed to a free naira float, has been selling the U.S. currency on the official currency market to try to narrow the spread with the black market rate after the black market rate hit a record high of 520 in February.

It has since devalued the naira for consumers to 375 and has been intervening selling more than $2 billion in forward currency sales since February.