Speaking with Reuters News Agency, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria has revealed that investigations showed that tens of billions of naira were traded for dollars in cash since July, much more than importers needed to buy goods or investors to repatriate funds, and there was no trace of where the money came from or where it was going.
This according to him dealt a heavy blow on the nation’s foreign reserves currently at an eight-month low.
He said the surge in demand for dollars at Forex bureaus showed that something was amiss after several months of spending huge resources to defend the naira and ensure its stability.
“Obviously, this was some form of money laundering to cover all the trails. And with interest rates as high as they are, the only people who can take that much naira and buy dollars are people who are not borrowing their money.” He said.
The prime suspects, he said, are politicians jockeying for position ahead of what looks likely to be a bitterly divisive 2015 polls.
He also said that the bank had banned currency importation into Nigeria without prior approval to stem abuses.
Osun Defenders said the CBN last weekend had also revoked the operating licences of 20 bureaus-de-change as part of measures to curb foreign exchange abuses in the sub-sector and issued new guidelines to ensure closer monitoring of transactions in the market.
The naira closed at N161.55 to the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, which according to Bloomberg report on Monday, fell 1.1 per cent, representing the biggest fall since January 2012.