BrandArena: Abokifx is Completely Illegal and Unacceptable – Emefiele

Friday 17 September 2021

Abokifx is Completely Illegal and Unacceptable – Emefiele

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has confirmed the investigation of Oniwinde Adedotun, the founder of abokiFX, a website that publishes the parallel market exchange rate.

Emefiele disclosed that the apex bank has been investigating the abokiFX website and its proprietors for the past two years after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Friday, September 17, 2021.

AbokiFX website publishes the exchange rate between the Nigerian Naira and other commonly used currencies such as the US Dollar, UK Pound and the European Euro among others. Though the website publishes the official and parallel market exchange rates, it is the go-to site for most people who want to carry out FX transactions outside the official market. As at the time of the report, the website states that the Dollar is currently exchanging for 560 (buy)/570 (sell) while the Pound is exchanging for 763 (buy)/770 (sell).

“The only exchange rate remains the I&E window, which is the market we expect everybody who wishes to procure or sell forex to get it”, he said. “I am sorry to say that I do not, and I do not intend to recognise any FX in the market.” 

He enjoined people to “go to your bank. Even if your limit is above what the bank is selling, put it forward, and we will look into it. If you want to sell the dollar, go to your bank and sell it. “

The CBN Governor stated that the bank has been investigating the abokiFX website and its owners in the last two years. He said “we have been studying the activities of abokiFX in the last two years. There was a time we asked our colleagues to call the abokiFX to ask how he conducts the rates.”

He confirmed that there was an ongoing investigation on the abokiFX owner, Mr Oniwinde Adedotun, who is a Nigerian living in the United Kingdom. He stated that abokiFX is registered in the United Kingdom, Nov. 2015, and it is owned by one person, who claimed that there are other people with significant interests behind the business.

“We cannot allow you to continue to kill our economy,” he said.

“On UK filing, we will go and conclude the investigation.” “He has over 25 bank accounts in Nigeria — both naira and dollar — collection FX through a particular ATM in London.”

The CBN Governor stated that Mr Oniwinde uses his site to manipulate the exchange rate to make profits in his FX transactions.

One could say that this is one of the ways the apex bank is trying to stop the free fall of the exchange rate of the Naira which worsened with the discontinuation of the sale of dollars to the BDCs in the country.

In a related incident, CBN was recently granted the right to freeze accounts of six Fintech companies for 180 days for carrying out ‘illegal foreign exchange transactions.

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