The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has warned Nigerians in the Diaspora against patronizing unlicensed money transfer operators.
The bank said the illegal operators use Naira accounts opened in local commercial banks to lure unsuspecting customers with ridiculous exchange rates.
By using the banks, ostensibly to give a legal seal to the illegal business of paying the proceeds to the beneficiaries, the CBN said the operators have been channelling the huge foreign currencies to fund the activities of the parallel market.
This practice, the bank noted, made it difficult for such transactions to be reported to the relevant authorities, thus undermining effective surveillance of the banking sector, resulting in discrepancies in statistics on the transactions between countries of origin of remittance and Nigeria.
“Nigerians in the Diaspora are advised not to patronize unlicensed International Money Transfer Operators, as they stand the risk of losing their hard-earned money,” spokesperson of the Central Bank, Isaac Okorafor, said in Abuja.
He warned deposit money banks (DMBs) against being used for such illegal transactions, saying the Central Bank would not hesitate to block such accounts when discovered and the operators handed over to the law enforcement agencies for prosecution.
While urging the banks to ensure they conduct their “Know Your Customers’ Business” (KYB) effectively, he said this would prevent the use of accounts opened with them for illegal transactions and avoid regulatory sanctions.
The CBN announced the names of 35 licensed operators authorised to handle remittances of money to Nigeria on behalf of Nigerians in the Diaspora.
They include Aftab Currency Exchange Limited, AWS Malta Limited, Caperemit UK Limited, Cashpot Limited, Centrexcard Limited, Colony Capital Limited, CP Express Limited, Daytona Capital Management Limited, DT&T Corporation Limited, eTransact Limited, Fiem Group LLC, DBA Ping Express, First Apple INC., First Transfer INC., Foren Money Limited, Funtech Global Communications Limited, GDM Transfer Pty Limited, Homesend S.C.R.L and IDT Payment Services INC.
Others include Moneygram, Nouveau Mobile Limited, Pagatech Limited, Refitok International Limited, Ria Financial, Sanaa Capital LLC (Money4 Diaspora Services LLC), Small World Financial Services Group Limited, TCF Limited, Trans-Fast Remittance LLC, UAE Exchange Centre LLC, Venture Garden Nigeria, Vtnetwork Limited, Wari Limited, Weblink International Limited, Western Union, Wi-Pay Global LLC and Worldremit Limited.
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