The Central Bank of Nigeria has again warned against the patronage of illegal money transfer operators, stating that the development was undermining its efforts in sanitising the system.
The bank, in a statement issued by its Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, said that Nigerians in the Diaspora stand the risk of being defrauded by the illegal operators.
The statement read in part, “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been drawn to the increasing patronage of illegal money transfer operators by Nigerians in the Diaspora for the purpose of home remittances.
“These unscrupulous operators, who lure unsuspecting customers with ridiculous exchange rates, use naira accounts opened in local banks ostensibly for legal business to pay out the proceeds to the beneficiaries, while channelling the foreign currencies to fund the parallel market.
“This practice has led to the non-reporting of such transactions to relevant authorities, thereby undermining effective surveillance of the sector as well as leading to discrepancies in statistics on the transactions between countries of origin of remittances and the destination country, Nigeria.”
The CBN urged Deposit Money Banks to ensure painstaking conduct of the ‘Know Your Customers’ Business’ in order to prevent the use of the accounts for illegal transactions and avoid regulatory sanctions.
The apex bank added that such accounts, when discovered, would be blocked and the operators handed over to appropriate law enforcement agencies for prosecution.