The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said it arrested members of a syndicate of currency racketeers keeping and trading in the new Naira notes in Abuja.
According to the EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, the operations were carried out in Zone 4 and Dei Dei axis of the Federal Capital Territory between Saturday and Monday.
He noted that the operation followed intelligence on activities of unscrupulous currency speculators who were exploiting citizens by offering them the new naira notes for foreign currencies at below the going rate.
The action came a day after the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefile, said the apex bank would collaborate with law enforcement agencies such as the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, to track such heavy withdrawals.
It was gathered that the CBN also extended the deadline for the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 Naira notes from 31 January to 10 February.
Also, on Monday, the Department of State Security Service revealed that its operatives arrested some currency traders who have turned the sale of newly redesigned notes into brisk business.
The secret police also alleged that the perpetrators were working in cahoots with officials of commercial banks.
However, the EFCC further noted that its findings revealed that some of the money traders are working with officials of Money Deposit Banks, adding that it’ll extend its operation to all major commercial centres across the country until all syndicates involved in the illegal trade are demobilized.
The agency also urged financial market operators to ensure compliance with the guidelines set by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
It added, “The suspects have made useful statements, including a disclosure that they were acting in cohort with some unscrupulous officials of Money Deposit Banks.
“The commission will extend the operation to all the major commercial centres of the country until all the syndicates involved in the illegal trade are demobilized. Financial system operators are also warned to desist from the sharp practices or risk arrest and prosecution.
“Zonal commanders of the EFCC also met with officials of various banks in their commands in an effort to ascertain the volume of the new notes issued to the commercial banks and how the banks were dispensing the monies to their customers.”
“The commanders urged the financial market operators to ensure compliance with the guidelines set by the Central Bank of Nigeria while disclosing that they have dispatched operatives across their Commands to monitor the level of compliance by banks and other operators in the financial market.”