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Some foreign missions in Nigeria charge in dollars, determine their own FX rates- EFCC

Some foreign missions in Nigeria charge in dollars, determine their own FX rates- EFCC

Reacting to the report on Tuesday, Uwujaren said it is not
the place of the EFCC to ban or direct foreign missionaries in the manner or
way they handle their finances as against alarming headlines in the news.

 

He said it is against the law for foreign missions based in
Nigeria to transact in foreign currencies, hence, the commission’s mandate on
using the naira in financial businesses.

 

“We recognise as a commission that foreign missions are
representatives of their home countries, enjoy certain diplomatic privileges by
international law. The commission is not a place to want to interfere with some
of the privileges that they enjoy under international law,” he said.

 

 “It is not within the
remit of the EFCC to either ban or direct foreign missions in the manner or the
way they handle their finances.

 

“What actually happened is that the commission over time,
observed that a number of the foreign missions by the manner which they handled
consular services, a number of them have engaged third parties to carry out
consular services on their behalf and those third parties have been invoicing
in dollars.

 

“Some even went to the ridiculous extent of determining the
exchange rate or the naira in the course of the transaction with Nigerians and
some foreign nationals based in Nigeria.

 

“We thought that that practice conflicted with extant laws
and regulation in Nigeria, and we felt compelled to bring this practice to the
knowledge of the missions through the ministry of foreign affairs.”

 

Uwujaren further clarified that the EFCC never wrote any
letter to any foreign mission in Nigeria.

 

“The advisory that we issued was to the ministry of foreign
affairs, and what we did was essentially to bring this practice which we
believe conflict with section 20, subsection 1 of the Central Bank of Nigeria
act, that section of recipient Act actually makes the naira the only legal
tender in Nigeria, which presupposes that is the only acceptable currency for
doing business within the borders of our country,” he added.

 

Speaking on whether the ministry had responded to the
letter, Uwujaren said the foreign affairs ministry has the protocol of engaging
with foreign missions in Nigeria and within their competence to determine the
ways in which to transmit the information to the various missions in Nigeria.

 

“Essentially, our focus is to discourage the dollarisation
of transactions within the local Nigerian economy,” he said.

 

 ‘NAIRA ABUSE, FOREX MALPRACTICES AGAINST THE
LAW’

 

Uwujaren said there was enforcement in place to fight the
abuse of the naira and discourage transactions in dollars within Nigeria, which
is against the law.

 

 “We have a special
task force on naira abuse and forex malpractices that is walking across our
zonal commands throughout the federation and the focus is to discourage people
from transacting in dollars because the naira is the only acceptable means of
transaction in the country,” he said.

 

On steps taken to create awareness, EFCC spokesperson said
the commission has informed those involved that some of the practices carried
out are against the law.

 

 “The onus is on them
to take corrective actions and ensure that the practices are in alignment with
laws and regulations that exist in our country. If they fail to do that, then
the commission will have no option than to enforce the law,” he added.

 

He urged Nigerians to report any wrong or abnormal activity
of businesses or persons charging in dollars and not in the local currency.

 

Uwujaren said the commission was working assiduously to
prevent the abuse of naira.

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