FLASH| FG Set to Prosecute Top CBN Officials Over FOREX Crisis

by on March 10, 2016
The Federal Government is perfecting plans to prose­cute some top officials of the Central Bank of Ni­geria (CBN) as well as some com­mercial bank chiefs and other pri­vate individuals involved in shady foreign exchange deals.
Such individuals would be charged with economic sabotage. This is a part of the government’s ongoing efforts to halt the free-fall of the Naira and resolve the for­eign exchange crisis crippling the nation’s economy.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), gave an indication of the planned trial of the CBN’s top managers and others on Wednesday at a press conference in Abuja.
The minister said that the Federal Government will bring to book heads of public regulato­ry agencies in the financial sector who have been found culpable in the current financial crisis in the country.
The minister identified the negative activities of those he termed “economic terrorists” to include: round-tripping of for­eign exchange sourced from the Interbank Market, rendition of false foreign exchange utilisation data, non-repatriation of export proceeds, use of foreign exchange for non-eligible purposes, among others.
Malami said that investiga­tions into the sabotage of the econ­omy by some government officials in collusion with some private in­dividuals had been concluded, adding that those found want­ing would soon have their days in court.
The AGF said that after failed attempts by some private citizens to coax the government into de­valuing the naira, they resorted to conniving with heads of public fi­nancial regulatory bodies to stifle the economy.
He said: “The Federal Govern­ment is aware of the insidious ac­tivities of certain elements within some of our strategic national in­stitutions, who rather than exert their regulatory powers, have cho­sen to use their strong accomplic­es within the system to manipulate the foreign exchange market for personal corrupt gains to the det­riment of the national economy.
“In this regard, measures are already in place to deal with the infractions decisively and relevant security agencies are on the red alert to investigate these infrac­tions and appropriate sanctions shall follow accordingly,” Malami declared.
 The minister stressed that in the exercise of his powers as the AGF, he had directed the Eco­nomic and Financial Commission (EFCC) and other relevant secu­rity agencies to further probe and confirm the information already at the disposal of government about the nefarious activities of these el­ements within and outside the na­tional institutions.
“It has become obvious that having failed in the attempts to force the devaluation of the nai­ra, certain forces have now aligned to create an artificial currency sit­uation whose primary purpose is to undermine the economic pro­gramme of the Muhammadu Bu­hari administration.
“The differential has given rise to sharp practices and rent-seek­ing activities by these entities that run contrary to various provisions of the laws governing the conduct of the Foreign Exchange market and our Anti-Money Laundering regime,” Malami said.
The AGF assured Nigerians of the government’s commitment to provide a sustainable platform for the foreign exchange market to thrive in the country.
Meanwhile, the Senate has passed into second reading a Bill for an Act to seek cooperation with other countries to repatriate and prosecute alleged corrupt Ni­gerians and their accomplices liv­ing outside the country.
The Bill is titled: “A Bill for an Act to make provision for mutu­al assistance in criminal matters between Nigeria and other for­eign states and other related mat­ters 2016”.
Leading the debate on the general principles of the Bill, Senate Leader, Mohammed Ali Ndume, said the import of the planned law is that it would com­pel looters of the nation’s treas­ury to return such without fur­ther delay.
The bill went through a brief debate before its referral to the Senate Committees on Judiciary, Foreign Affairs and Anti-Corrup­tion for further legislative consid­eration.
The Committees are expected to come up with a report on the Bill after a public hearing within two weeks.

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