The chief executives of deposit money banks in the country have warned customers against using fraudulent methods to get access to foreign exchange (Forex) from banks, saying those caught perpetrating such acts would be prosecuted.
Some of the fraudulent activities observed by the executives include using expired travel tickets and fake passports in a bid to procure forex.
The banks’ warning comes amid complaints by some customers who lamented that they continued to experience difficulty in accessing forex from banks, forcing them to resort to Bureaux de Change.
The Central Bank of Nigeria had on July 27, at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting, announced the stoppage of forex sale to the BDCs, saying they had turned themselves into “agents that facilitate graft and corrupt activities of people who seek illicit fund flow and money laundering in Nigeria”.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said the apex bank would channel a significant portion of its weekly allocation meant for BDCs to commercial banks to meet legitimate forex demand for ordinary Nigerians and businesses.
Financial Derivatives Company Limited had last week described the documentation process required by banks for the sale of foreign exchange as cumbersome, saying this would pose a challenge to the public.
Banks’ chief executives, at a press briefing held after the Bankers’ Committee meeting on Thursday, said they had been attending to customers requesting forex through their teller points.
The Managing Director of Access Bank and Chairman of the committee, Herbert Wigwe, said customers who failed to comply with the rules stipulated by the CBN would be reported to the law enforcement agencies for further prosecution.
The Managing Director, First City Monument Bank, Yemisi Edun, “Banks are ready and prepared to address the need of customers and all banks have been attending to customers. We have our teller points and the CBN has been providing the funding.
“We are using digital means to take records and data. We have a portal with means to track fraud. For example, we noticed people coming with airline tickets and then cancelling in a bid to obtain forex. We have means to stop this kind of behaviour.
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“We encourage customers to use their banks to obtain forex as well as using electronic means of crediting their cards instead of carrying cash to buy invisibles. The banks are prepared with teller points to handle demand.”
The Group Chief Executive Officer, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Segun Agbaje, noted that the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Instant Payment had created a portal for forex to be bought online.
Agbaje, while speaking to the issue said banks do not want “fraudulent transactions taking place” in the guise of forex transaction.
He said, “We are digitising the system to make it quicker, faster and cheaper. There will be no need to carry cash around when travelling, as card transactions make it seamless, which is what obtains in other parts of the world.
On how the forex market is doing since the ban, Agbaje said legitimate demands for Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) and Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), medical needs and educational purposes “are working very well”.
He urged bank customers to consider putting their forex in cards as the Banker’s Committee is considering digitizing the process. Banks and their staff he assured are being held accountable if forex infractions are traced to them while the CBN is holding the banks themselves on a short leash to prevent fraudulent activities by the banks when transacting forex deals.