CBN fines 4 banks N5.87bn over forex irregularities

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday imposed a N5.87 billion fine on Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank, and Diamond Bank over alleged irregularities

The banks, according to the Apex bank, allegedly remitted foreign exchange with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) to offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd.

Mr Isaac Okorafor, the CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Department, said MTN was also asked to refund the CBN 8.13 billion dollars which was illegally repatriated by the company.

Giving a breakdown of the imposed fines, Okorafor said Standard Chartered Bank would pay a fine of N2.47 billion, Stanbic IBTC N1.88 billion, Citibank Nigeria N1.26 billion and Diamond Bank N250 million.

The director in a statement said CBN’s investigation revealed that 3.45 billion dollars was repatriated by Standard Chartered Bank on the basis of the illegally issued CCIs.

Okorafor also said the sums of 2.63 billion dollars, 1.766 billion dollars and 348 million dollars were repatriated by Stanbic IBTC Nigeria, Citibank Nigeria and Diamond Bank, respectively during the period 2007 and 2015.

He said the apex bank had directed the affected banks to immediately refund the respective sums to the CBN.

The director said that the CBN investigation revealed that on account of illegal conversion of MTN shareholders’ loan to preference shares of 399.59 million dollars, 8.13 billion dollars was illegally repatriated by the company.

Okorafor advised all banks and multinational companies in Nigeria to adhere strictly to the provisions of all extant laws and regulations of Nigeria in their foreign exchange transactions.

He warned that failure by the management of banks and companies to abide by the existing guidelines would be appropriately sanctioned.

The CBN director said the sanctions might include denial of access to the Nigerian foreign exchange market.