By John Ikani
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele says the apex bank is on a mission to capture and prosecute Olumide Oniwinde, owner of Digital Forex Tracker – abokiFX for endangering the Nigerian economy.
Oniwinde faces a two-year jail term monetary fine following allegations that his digital media breached the National Intelligence Committee Act of 2004.
AbokiFX is a website that publishes the parallel market exchange rate of the Naira against other currencies of the world on a daily basis.
According to the Governor, Oniwinde started the abokiFX operation in 2015 and has since milked the economy by taking position, while manipulating the exchange rate. Emefiele promised to ensure that Oniwinde is captured and made to answer to the law.
“The only exchange rate remains the I&E window, which is the market we expect everybody who wishes to procure or sell forex to get it,” Emefiele said.
“I am sorry to say that I do not, and I do not intend to recognize any fx in the market.
“Go to your bank. Even if your limit is above what the bank is selling, put it forward, and we will look into it.
“If you want to sell the dollar, go to your bank and sell it,” he added.
What the law says and how abokiFX breached it
The law covering the foreign exchange report states that any individual or organisation reporting exchange rates besides that of the bank has committed an offense.
Heritage Times gathered that from section 11 of the National Intelligence Committee Act of 2004, that any person, association of individuals or public and private corporate body publishing or published exchange and interest rates other than that of bank’s wil pay the following; In the case of an individual, the fine of N100,000 will be metted out, as well as two years imprisonment, separately, or made to face both punishment.
While a company will be fined N500,000, and its certificate of registration or certificate of incorporation will be revoked.
Alleged manipulation of forex, illegal FX transactions
Asides abokiFX breaching of the foreign exchange rate report law, Oniwinde has also been accused of manipulating the black market forex rates which has been rising in recent times.
Since the CBN barred the Bureau De Change operators from receiving forex from commercial banks to support their operation, abokiFX has reported that naira value has increasingly weakened compared to foreign currencies.
Currently, abokiFX reported that $1 to a naira is N570, United Kingdom’s one pound exchange for N770, while one euro trades for N655 in the parallel market. Also, the CBN has requested details of seven accounts belonging to Oniwinde and abokiFX, for investigation into transactions involving them.