Five days after WazobiaReporters exclusively reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was selling forex to some close allies of President Muhammadu Buhari for as low as N3 to $1 through what is called Bills of Collection, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), has queried the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, demanding “prompt response” to the allegations of corruption in the CBN’s foreign exchange allocation and transactions.
Petition against the CBN indicated how some companies and individuals got foreign exchange in US dollars at the rates as low as low as N0.61 to $1 while others got it in rates that were as high as N470 to $1.
Malami, in the letter, dated February 6, 2017, and with reference number, HAGF/CBN/2017/VOL.1/1, asked Emefiele to respond to the allegations “to enable us to advise the Presidency and take appropriate measures.”
Titled ‘allegations of racketeering in the Central Bank of Nigeria; disparity in allocation of foreign exchange’, and addressed to Emefiele, the letter was delivered to the CBN governor’s office on Monday.
WazobiaReporters had reported on February 11, 2017 that the fraud was being perpetrated through a select few in CBN, with claim that Form M was filled and submitted like 35 years ago but forex was not released.
“You just need to claim that importation was done in say 1985 but forex was not released to you despite submitting duly completed Form M.
“With all documents perfected, the forex will then be released at the prevailing rate in 1985.
“Imagine someone getting $1 million at N5/ $1 and selling to end users at say N450/ $1. That is making N445 on $1 and just multiply N445 in one million places.
“That is the fraud going on in CBN now,” source disclosed.
For instance, an individual got $4,327 at the rate of N23.34 to $1 through “credit card payment” for “invisible” purpose and under “invisible sector”.
A bank also got $3,589.11 at the rate of N3.19 to $1 also for “invisible” purposes and under “invisible” sector.
There was a transaction involving sale of $66.72 at the rate of N0.62 to $1.
There was also a sale of $5.56 to a company at the rate of N0.61 also for “invisible” purposes.
A particular transaction also involved the sale of $570.8 at the rate N3.17.
In contrast, there was a company, who purchased $1,462,480.83 at the rate of N425 to $1.
The document shows that individuals and companies got foreign exchange for purposes ranging from importation, PTA, school fees, “invisible”, family maintenance allowances, mortgage payments and medical travel among others.
Four major allegations contained in Malami’s letter to Emefiele include alleged corruption in the apex bank’s “foreign exchange allocation transactions.”
The second is “questionable policy” in the apex bank’s allocation and sale of foreign currency to Nigerians.
The third is the issue of “arbitrary allotment of different exchange rates for same purposes” by the CBN.
The last is allocation of conflicting foreign exchange rates by the CBN.
The AGF’s query partly read, “Some of these petitions have been supported by several documents allegedly showing that the central bank has implemented a questionable policy in its allocation and sale of foreign currency to Nigerians.
“It is further alleged that this arbitrary allotment of different exchange rates for same purposes at the same time is being pursued as policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria. See attached documents from Leadershipng publication.
“Also attached is a report of the October 2016, allocation of conflicting foreign exchange rates by the central bank.
“In view of these allegations of corruption and arbitrary allocations of foreign exchange to a certain class of persons, you are kindly requested to comment on these allegations to enable us to advise the Presidency and take appropriate measures as may be dictated by the circumstances of the case.”
The 1,312-page document attached to the petition revealed the names of various customers, their corresponding addresses, form numbers, amount allocated to them (in United States dollars), the items or purposes, the sector and the banks used for the month of October alone.