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Why we raided, arrested some BDC Operators – EFCC

By Sodiq Omolaoye, Abuja
15 November 2022   |   5:17 pm
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said that it has arrested some bureau de change operators across the country, especially in Lagos and Abuja, to sanitize the foreign exchange sector.

EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa

***Arrests alleged currency speculator

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said that it has arrested some bureau de change operators across the country, especially in Lagos and Abuja, to sanitize the foreign exchange sector.

The EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this during a television program on “sanitizing ungoverned operators in the forex sector.”

EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement on Tuesday said Bawa was represented by the Commission’s Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol

According to him, the EFCC’s arrest of BDC operators and currency speculators in the parallel market was not indiscriminate but a product of intelligence.

He said: “At the 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.”

He stressed that the Commission considers foreign exchange malpractice as an economic crime against the Nigerian state, adding that the Commission, as far back as 2016, established a full-fledged section known as the Foreign Exchange Malpractices Section and, for over ten years, maintained a visible “presence at all airports in the country to checkmate incidences of bulk cash movement outside Nigeria, which is another aspect of this menace.”

He said through the Commission’s presence at the major gateway into the country, many arrests of cash smugglers have been made and humongous sums in foreign currencies recovered.

“Some were arrested with an 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 said

Bawa further stated that EFCC not only recovered some of these monies but secured their forfeiture to the federal government, while the culprits were prosecuted.

He emphasized the need for active inter-agency and stakeholders 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.

“The CBN guidelines are clear regarding returns by BDCs, but how many of them do this,” he asked.

Meanwhile, Uwujaren said as part of its ongoing operation to sanitize the foreign exchange sector and rid it of speculators and all shades of economic saboteurs, the commission has arrested one Mustapha Muhammed alias Muaspaha Naira.

“He was picked up by operatives of the Commission on Saturday, November 12, 2022, at Wuse Zone 4, the hub of parallel market operations in the Federal Capital Territory.

“The suspect has made useful statements while the investigation continues,” Uwujaren stated.

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