Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN

CBN directs banks to freeze accounts of Nigerian investors in cryptocurrencies

*The Federal Government has proscribed trading in cryptocurrencies through accounts in the Nigerian Deposit Money Banks, over an alleged use of cryptos for money laundering, terrorism funding, as well as other corrupt and nefarious activities in the economy

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Central Bank of Nigeria has ordered all Nigerian commercial banks to freeze the bank accounts of certain individuals for apparently trading in cryptocurrencies in the country’s economy.

ConsumerConnect had reported the Federal Government earlier had proscribed trading of cryptocurrencies through Nigerian Deposit Money Bank (DMB) accounts against the backdrop of an allegation that the virtual currencies were being used for money laundering, terrorism funding, fund terrorism, and other corrupt, nefarious activities being perpetrated in the country.

This directive is contained in a Post-No-Debit circular which the Director of Banking Supervision at CBN, reportedly issued November 3, 2021, and addressed to the banks.

The Bankers’ Bank stated: “You are hereby directed to close accounts of the underlisted bank customers, and place the funds in the accounts in suspense accounts for engaging in cryptocurrency trading in contravention of CBN Circular BSD/DIR/PUB/014/001 dated February 5, 2021.”

According to the Bank, the listed accounts belong to two individuals, namely: Nnamdi Francis Okereke and Nwaorgu Kingsley Chibuzor, and a company called TVS Hallmark Service Limited.

Recall the apex bank February 2021, had ordered the commercial banks and other financial institutions to close all customers’ accounts used in trading in cryptocurrencies and other related transactions in Nigeria.

At the time, a circular noted that the banking sector regulator directed the DMBs, non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) to “identify persons and/or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.”

Though the CBN at the time said it was working on reviewing the policy, there have not been any contrary guidelines authorising Nigerian investors to trade in cryptocurrencies till date.

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