Central Bank sanctions four banks, telecom operator for breaking law

cbn building
Central Bank of Nigeria building, Abuja

Four Deposit Money Banks have been sanctioned by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, asking them to pay total sum of N5.87 billion for breaking foreign exchange laws.

The apex bank said it imposed heavy sanctions on the DMBs for “flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006”.

The country’s apex bank also instructed a South African owned telecommunication company in Nigeria to immediately refund to the coffers of the CBN, the sum of $8,134,312,397.63, it illegally sent outside the country.

In an announcement on Wednesday in Abuja, the CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said that the actions of the apex bank became necessary following allegations of remittance of foreign exchange with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) issued on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and subsequent investigations carried out by the apex bank in March 2018.

Figures obtained from the CBN indicated that the highest fine of N2,470,604,767.13 was slammed on one of the bank, while another was fined the sum of N1,885,852,847.45.

The other two banks was penalized in the sum of N1,265,541,562.31 and N250 million for violating extant rules.

The CBN Spokesman further disclosed that the decision of the Bank followed thorough investigations by it into the allegations of remittances by the four banks of forex with irregular certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) issued on behalf of some offshore investors.

He said the investigations revealed that the sum of $3,448,119,321.72 was repatriated by a bank on the basis of the illegally issued CCIs. Similarly, he said the sums of $2,632,005,623.78, $1,766,263,212.75 and $348,914,501.30 were repatriated the three other banks respectively during the period 2007 and 2015.

Accordingly, he said the CBN had directed the affected banks to immediately refund the respective sums to the CBN.

The CBN investigation further revealed that on account of illegal conversion the shareholders’ loan to preference shares (interest free loan) of $399,594,146.00, the sum of $8,134,312,397.63 was illegally repatriated by the telecoms company.

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