EFCC Confiscates Over $6 Million From Bureau De Change Operators

The recent arrest of some Bureau De Change operators across the country especially in Lagos and Abuja by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has coincided with the Commission’s overall efforts in sanitizing the foreign exchange sector.

The Commission’s Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol represented the Executive Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while discussing the topic ‘’Sanitizing Ungoverned Operators in the Forex Sector”.

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

“At 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 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-fledge Section known as Foreign Exchange Malpractices Section and for over ten years maintained visible “presence at all airports in the country to checkmate incidences of bulk cash movement outside Nigeria which is another aspect of this menace.”

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

“Some were arrested with 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

Chukkol 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 stakeholder 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.

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