A Federal High Court in Lagos has frozen for 180 days the bank accounts of foreign exchange dealers suspected of damaging the financial stability of the forex market and the economy.
Justice Muslim Hassan made the order following an ex parte application by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
The CBN told the judge that the order would aid its ongoing investigation of dealers allegedly procuring foreign currencies to import items which had been designated as invalid for the forex market.
The names of the four bank accounts frozen by Justice Hassan are: Raufu Folashade, Yusufu Ali, Ali Yusufu and Ali Yusufu.
The CBN alleged that the illegal activities of the dealers had continually undermined the apex bank’s “efforts to maintain a stable foreign exchange regime, which causes significant economic and financial instability to the Nigerian economy.”
Its counsel, Adekola Mustapha, told Justice Hassan that there was an urgent need to freeze the four bank accounts because “there is a strong probability that the respondents may tamper with the funds currently in their various bank accounts, which are strongly connected to or being strongly suspected to be proceeds of the serious infractions of the foreign exchange market regulations.”
In the supporting affidavit to the ex parte application, a litigation officer in Mustapha’s office, Afolabi Oyelodun, said, “Preliminary investigation revealed that the respondent applied the foreign exchange obtained from the CBN, through their various bank accounts, to fund transactions in some prohibited items, leading to serious infractions and violation of the CBN circular, TED/FEM/GEN/01/010 of June 23, 2015
“The activities of the respondents now under investigation constitute serious risk to the financial stability of the foreign exchange market and the economy at large.
“It is in the interest of justice, safety of the economy and public policy that this application is granted by the honourable court.”
Justice Hassan granted the application as prayed.