The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again advised Nigerians in the Diaspora to desist from patronising unregistered International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) for the purpose of home remittances, warning that they stand the risk of losing their funds.
In a statement issued yesterday, Acting Director, Corporate Communications at the apex bank, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said the unregistered IMTOs: “Lure unsuspecting customers with ridiculous exchange rate, use naira accounts opened in local banks ostensibly for legal business to pay out the proceeds to the beneficiaries while channeling the foreign currencies to fund the parallel market.”
He said this practice has not only resulted in the nonreporting of such transactions to relevant authorities, “thereby undermining effective surveillance of the sector.” Besides, he said it has also led to discrepancies in statistics on the transactions between countries of origin of remittance and the destination country, Nigeria.
He further stated that in order to prevent the use of accounts for illegal transactions and avoid regulatory sanctions, Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) were to ensure that they fully complied with the CBN’s directive on “Know Your Customers’ Business” (KYB).
He warned that any account that is discovered to be used for illegal transactions will be blocked and the operators handed over to appropriate law enforcement agencies for prosecution. The CBN’s spokesman who listed the 35 IMTOs that are licensed and authorised by the banking watchdog to remit money to the country, advised Nigerians in the Diaspora to only patronise these firms and steer clear of the illegal operators.
The CBN had in a circular on the sale of foreign currency proceeds issued on July 22, 2016, stated that all registered IMTOs were required to remit foreign currency to their respective agent banks in Nigeria for disbursement in naira to the beneficiaries while the foreign currency proceeds are to be sold to Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators, for onward retail to end users.