Days after it lamented the unreported movement of huge amount of foreign currencies by individuals and companies, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it would henceforth collaborate with other relevant regulatory and security agencies to promptly apply appropriate sanctions and penalties against anyone who contravene the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011.
CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Ibrahim Mu’azu, pointed out that the trafficking of foreign currency across the nation’s borders is a contravention of the extant dictates of Section 2 (subsection 3-5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).
Section 2 of the Act states that:“Transportation of cash or negotiable instruments in excess of US$10,000.00 or its equivalent by individuals in or out of the country shall be declared to the Nigerian Customs Service.”
“The Nigerian Customs Service shall report any declaration made pursuant to subsection (3) of this section to the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
“Any person who falsely declares or fails to make a declaration to the Nigerian Customs Service pursuant to section 12 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, F34, LFN, 2004 is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to forfeit the undeclared funds or negotiable instrument or to imprisonments to term of not less than two years or to both.”
The CBN informed the general public that upon receipt of any notice of declaration from the Nigerian Customs Service, it will investigate the source of fund and seek justification for the possession of such volume of cash to ensure that no money laundering activity is involved.
The apex bank added that those affected will also be expected to provide evidence of payment of taxes and duties related to the cash transaction.
In order maintain exchange rate stability, the CBN had since 2014 relied heavily on external reserves to support the Naira which came under pressure following falling international prices of crude oil.
The apex bank, last Thursday, also issued a stern warning to the Bureaux De Change operators that they are duty bound not to sell forex either by cash or electronically to any customer beyond the recommended threshold of $5,000, adding that the operators must also adhere to rules under which the sale must be carried out.
Recently, however, the CBN raised an alarm that some unscrupulous Nigerians have been arrested trafficking in large volume of foreign exchange across the nation’s borders without declaration to the appropriate authorities.
It would be recalled that recently two children of former Governors of Jigawa and Osun States were caught with huge sums of hard currencies at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport and the Aminu Kano International Airport respectively.