EFCC arrests 200 BDC operators for alleged forex fraud – Newstrends
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EFCC arrests 200 BDC operators for alleged forex fraud

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EFCC arrests 200 BDC operators for alleged forex fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested over 200 suspects in connection with foreign exchange scams and manipulation of the financial markets.

Sources privy to the development but were not authorised to speak to The PUNCH on Wednesday that over 200 suspected Bureau De Change operators were in EFCC custody across the country.

One of the sources revealed, “Over 200 suspects have been arrested by the EFCC for forex scam and currency speculation. Not all the arrested suspects are in Abuja or at our headquarters because they were arrested in various states across the country.”

Another source noted, “I can confirm that we have arrested over 200 people for foreign exchange scam and manipulation of the financial markets; they are all being interrogated by our investigators to determine the degrees of their involvements. Most of them were arrested in Abuja, Lagos, Rivers, and Kano States.”

Also, a third source stated, “The clampdown on the forex scammers would yield positive results. Many of them have been arrested, and they will face the consequences of their actions.”

The PUNCH reported last week that the EFCC expanded its clampdown exercise on BDC operators, arresting traders in Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt.

The raid of the BDC operators is part of the Federal Government’s efforts to tame the free fall of the local currency.

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The government blamed the actions of speculators in the forex market and digital marketing sphere for the significant depreciation of the naira.

On Friday, May 17, operatives of the Uyo Zonal command of the EFCC arrested five suspected forex speculators at the Ama-Hausa mosque, along Hospital Road, Aba in Abia State.

The arrested suspects are: Hassan Umaru; Haruna Umar, Badamasi Abdullahi, Auwal Muhammed and Kasimu Muhammed.

The spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, in a statement, revealed that the suspects had different currencies in varied sums at the point of arrest.

Oyewale said, “The recovered currencies are: 23,000 Won (Korean currency), 52 (Yuan Chinese currency),  $6, 500 Nippon Ginko, 40 notes of Dalawampung Piso (Philippines currency), 20 Gambian Dalasis, 20 Swaziland currency and N382,000.

 “Other recovered items from them are seven mobile phones, one power bank, one air pod, and one ATM card.

 “They were arrested by operatives of the command, following weeks of surveillance and credible intelligence. The suspects will be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.”

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In another development, Oyewale revealed that the Enugu Zonal Command of the EFCC arraigned Daniel Chukwuka Koussou, a forex broker, before Justice C. O. Ajah of the State High Court sitting in Independence Layout, Enugu State.

He was arraigned on a one-count charge bordering on criminal conversion and stealing of N112.8m.

The lone count charge reads: “That you, Daniel Chuwuka Koussou sometime in July 2022, in Enugu, Enugu State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did commit a felony to wit: stealing by fraudulently converting to your use the sum of N112, 800, 800.00 (one hundred and twelve million, eight hundred thousand, eight hundred naira), property of Chinedu Igbokwe and thereby committed an offence.”

The offence is contrary to Section 342 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap 30 of the Laws of Enugu State and punishable under Section 353 (1) of the same Law.

The defendant pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him and was thereafter remanded at the Enugu State Correctional facility pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.

Oyewale disclosed, “Koussou was arrested following claims of a petitioner, who alleged that he sent $276,000 to the defendant, a supposed agent for Providus Bank, to convert into naira and return same.

 “According to the petitioner, on July 6, 2022, Providus Bank paid Koussou the full money in naira but the defendant sent part-payment of N21,759,771 to him (the petitioner) and diverted the rest for his personal use.  All efforts made to get him to pay up proved abortive.”

EFCC arrests 200 BDC operators for alleged forex fraud

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JUST IN: Nigeria’s forex reserves hit 3-month high

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JUST IN: Nigeria’s forex reserves hit 3-month high

Nigeria’s foreign exchange (FX) reserves have climbed to their highest level since March 28, 2024, marking a significant financial achievement that aligns with the longest stretch of exchange rate stability seen in over a year.

This milestone comes as Nigeria secures a series of financial commitments from the World Bank through new multilateral loans.

The latest data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reveals that the reserves now stand at $33.58 billion as of June 19, 2024. This marks a substantial recovery from the end of March 2024, when the reserves peaked at $33.83 billion before entering a period of decline.

The rise in FX reserves follows three months of notable fluctuations, which saw the reserves plummet to a low of $32.11 billion on April 19, 2024, raising concerns about the nation’s financial stability. In response, the central bank Governor addressed the issue at the IMF Spring meeting in April.

Since then, a steady and consistent upward trajectory has been observed, coinciding with a period of exchange rate stability. This month, the official exchange rate has averaged N1,481/$1, fluctuating within a narrow band of plus or minus 0.06%.

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According to CBN data, forex reserves have risen by 5%, or $1.47 billion, in the last two months, climbing from $32.11 billion on April 19, 2024, to $33.58 billion by June 19, 2024. This growth represents a significant boost for the country’s external reserves, as the CBN continues to implement policies that attract forex liquidity.

Critics, however, will note the improved liquidity position, considering the myriad of policies implemented by the central bank over the past year and several promises of potential forex inflow from foreign portfolio investors. Improved liquidity in forex turnover has been observed, with the average turnover for June to date at $199 million daily compared to $168 million in the same period in May. Total forex turnover in June is now $2.1 billion, spanning 11 days of trading.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) recently urged the CBN to focus on boosting external reserves. The Monetary Policy Communique from its 295th meeting noted:

“The Committee also noted the marginal increase in the external reserve balance between March and April 2024 and urged the Bank to sustain its focus on accretion to reserves.”

To ensure a steady flow of foreign exchange into the country, the CBN plans to double diaspora remittance inflows this year.

Additionally, Afrexim Bank recently disbursed $925 million, another tranche of the $3.3 billion crude oil-backed loan agreement with the NNPC from last year. This brings the total payment for the facility to $3.175 billion, aiming to stabilize the forex market amid severe volatility.

Moreover, the World Bank has approved $2.25 billion in loans to Nigeria to bolster economic stability and support vulnerable populations. This financial injection is designed to provide immediate financial and technical support for Nigeria’s urgent economic stabilization efforts.

JUST IN: Nigeria’s forex reserves hit 3-month high

(NAIRAMETRICS)

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Naira at par selling N1,485/$ in parallel, official markets

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Naira at par selling N1,485/$ in parallel, official markets

The Naira yesterday appreciated in the parallel market to N1,485 per dollar from N1,490 per dollar on Wednesday.

However, the Naira depreciated to N1,485.36 per dollar in the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market, NAFEM.

Data from FMDQ showed that the indicative exchange rate for NAFEM rose to N1,485.06 per dollar from N1,483.02 per dollar on Wednesday, indicating N2.04 depreciation for the naira.

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Consequently, the margin between the parallel market and NAFEM rates narrowed to 36 kobo per dollar from N6.98 per dollar on Wednesday.

Naira at par selling N1,485/$ in parallel, official markets

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R.T. Briscoe begins conversion of vehicles to run on CNG/LPG 

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R.T. Briscoe begins conversion of vehicles to run on CNG/LPG 

R.T. Briscoe Plc has commenced conversion of petrol and diesel vehicles to run on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

Group Managing Director of the company, Mr Seyi Onajide, disclosed this during an interactive session with journalists in Lagos.

He also unveiled a number projects embarked upon by the company including securing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to raise N10 billion through a savings and investments scheme.

Onajide said the automotive division of the conglomerate decided to set up a CNG/LPG conversion facility in line with the Federal Government’s CNG initiative (Pi-CNG).

“We started the conversion of petrol or diesel engine cars into CNG and LPG without government funding and we believe it is the future of automobile industry. We have successfully done that on some pick-up vehicles,” he said.

The R.T. Briscoe CEO said the company had submitted a proposal to the Presidential CNG committee.

“They invited us to participate in the CNG initiative. We believe that the average vehicle owner in Nigeria and even commuters can benefit from this initiative because it has a lot of benefits. It will save costs for the motoring public,” he said.

Onajide said the CNG conversion kits being used are manufactured in Europe with one of the best global rating standards .

He added that the automotive division of the R.T. Briscoe has well-trained technical and professional team that could handle the installation.

Even as he noted that the future looked promising, he observed the initiative could be impeded by the non-availability of CNG and LPG refilling stations and expressed support for a hybrid model.

He said, R.T. Briscoe had approached some corporate institutions that are fleet owners that have justifiable reasons to build gas-refilled plants on their premises.

According to him, until gas-refilling stations are readily available, CNG would be limited to big organisations that could house and store gas.

The highpoint of the event was the inspection with a test drive of the finished vehicles converted to run on CNG.

RT Briscoe Plc is engaged in the sales and servicing of Toyota vehicles, technical services, material handling and property development and management.

The Presidential CNG Initiative (Pi-CNG) is a component of the palliative intervention of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration directed at providing succour to the masses occasioned by the hardships of the fuel subsidy removal policy of the Federal Government.

With a projected $2.5 billion investment by 2027, the Presidential CNG Initiative plans to drive Nigeria towards a sustainable and prosperous future, where every citizen has the opportunity to thrive.

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