Connect with us

News and Report

CBN bars crypto bank account operators from cash withdrawal

Published

on

Cash withdrawals will not be possible from accounts opened for virtual and digital assets transactions, the Central of Nigeria has disclosed.

Withdrawals from these accounts will only be possible by transfer or through a manager’s cheque, the apex bank explained. It revealed this in a new ‘Guidelines on Operations of Bank Accounts for Virtual Assets Service Providers.’

According to the bank, an account opened under its new guidelines will only be used for transactions on virtual/digital assets and not for any other purpose.

The guideline read in part, “No cash withdrawal shall be allowed from the account. No third-party cheque shall be cleared from the account. Except for settlement of a virtual/digital assets transaction which shall be done through a transfer to another designated account, the withdrawal shall be only through a managers’ cheque or transfer to an account.”

In a December circular titled, ‘Circular to all banks and other Financial Institutions guidelines on operations of bank accounts for Virtual Assets Service Providers,’ with reference number FPR/DIR/PUB/CIR/002/003, and signed by the Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustafa, the banking regulator announced a policy change on crypto assets and directed banks to begin to aid crypto transactions.

In its new policy direction, the bank stated that it was more open to the idea of regulation rather than its earlier position of the restriction of crypto assets from the formal banking sector.

The guideline, published alongside the circular, is meant to serve as the framework for the reintroduction of crypto into the formal banking sector.

Commenting on the guideline, the CBN said, “The Guidelines shall apply to banks and other financial institutions under the regulatory purview of the CBN.”

Part of the objectives read, “Provide minimum standards and requirements for banking business relationships and account opening for Virtual Assets Service Providers in Nigeria.”

Based on the guidelines, financial institutions are now allowed to undertake the following activities in their operations of accounts for Virtual Assets Service Providers including, opening designated accounts, the provision designated settlement accounts and settlement services, acting as channels for FX flows and trade, and any other activity that may be permitted by the CBN from time to time.

Commenting on how virtual asset providers can open accounts, the apex bank noted, “From the commencement of these Regulations, financial institutions shall not open or permit the operation of any account by any person or entity to conduct the business of virtual/digital assets unless that account is designated for that purpose and opened in line with the requirement of these Guidelines.

“The designated account shall only be opened with the approval of senior management of the FI.”

The new CBN guideline further provides an extensive list of other requirements aimed at protecting the financial system and customers from uncertainty and fraud risks.

Hammering on the need for financial institutions to adhere to its guidelines, the apex bank highlighted that erring banks could get their licence suspended.

The document read in parts, “Notwithstanding the powers of the CBN under the BOFIA 2020 and in addition to the use of remedial measures in these Guidelines, the CBN may take any or all of the following sanctions against a Fl, its board of directors, officers or staff for failure to comply with any of the requirements of these Guidelines:

“Prohibition from opening any further designated account; Monetary penalty not below the sum of 2,000,00O.00 against the FIs, members of its board, senior management, and any staff, for any infraction. Suspension of the operating licence of a Fl.”

When the CBN announced its policy shift on crypto, the Lead Partner and Head of Blockchain and Virtual Assets Practice at Infusion Lawyers, Senator Ihenyen, told The PUNCH, “Thankfully, our regulators will now work together to ensure consumer protection and investor safety.

“Nigeria can no longer afford to keep pushing digital assets underground, for obvious economic and security reasons, especially when you are number on in crypto adoption in Africa and a leading market in the globe.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

News and Report

Pictorial: Gender mobile signs Mou with university of Uyo

Published

on

By

 

Monday June 10th Gender Mobile lead by Barr Omowunmi Ogunrotimi signed an Mou with the university of Uyo lead by its Vice Chancellor Professor Nyaudoh Ndaeyo

The Mou will allow Gender Mobile to support the University of Uyo to institutionalize sexual harassment prevention frameworks through policy, preventative education, and technology adoption.

Continue Reading

News and Report

How US Billionaires Allegedly Fund Organ Trafficking In Nigeria

Published

on

By

The Global Prolife Alliance, GPA has sensationally revealed that billionaires from the United States are funding an organ trafficking cartel in Nigeria.
The GPA made the shocking revelation in a letter to President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Speaker, House Of Representatives.
The letter is signed by Academician (Dr) Philip Njemanze, Chairman, Global Prolife Alliance, GPA.
Njemanze said the cartel’s grip on the country’s healthcare system has resulted in the poaching of human organs and ovarian eggs, with millions of lives at stake.
The GPA cited the National Health Act of 2014 (NHAct 2014) as a tool for the cartel’s nefarious activities.
According to them, the cartel’s scheme involves coercing female farmers into purchasing genetically modified seeds in exchange for their ovarian eggs.

 

  • 247 Ureport

Continue Reading

News and Report

CONTRACT SCANDAL ROCKS TETFUND AS ICPC ARRESTS CONTRACTOR

Published

on

By

A contract scandal of monumental proportion is currently rocking the the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

So bad is the situation that operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) have beamed their searchlight on the activities of TETFund.

Last Tuesday, a contractor, known as Paul Chukwuma, was arrested by the and as at the time of filling this report, he was yet to regain his freedom on account of not been able to perfect his bail condition.

We gathered that Paul Chukwuma, who is the founder and promoter of Fides Et Ratio Academy, an educational service provider was detained by the ICPC over his alleged involvement in contract mess.

Recall that the media was agog with the report of how TETFund awarded a controversial N3.8 billion contract to Mr Chukwuma’s company and paid N2.9 billion to the company in four installments without following due process

Shortly after the publication by Premium Times in April, the anti-graft body detained TETFund’s Director of Finance and Accounts, Gloria Olotu, and grilled others including the Director of Human Resources and General Administration, Kolapo Okunola, and the Director of Information Communication Technology (ICT), Joseph Odo.

Mr Chukwuma’s detention is the latest major development in the ICPC investigation that dates back to April.

ICPC’s spokesperson, Ademola Bakare, on Wednesday, confirmed Mr Chukwuma was in the agency’s custody.

The suspect, a player in the education business in the country, was also on the list of members of governing councils of tertiary institutions recently released by the Nigerian government before President Bola Tinubu directed the review of the list.

Recall that TETFund– a tertiary institutions’ funding agency under the Federal Ministry of Education– awarded the contract which it tagged: “Capacity Building Certificate Course (Communication, Entrepreneurship, and Productive Skill Development) inclusive of the Train-the-Trainer Programme for 502 (five hundred and two) Participants”.

Findings by this newspaper indicated that the funding for the contract was sourced from the 2023 annual direct disbursement budget domiciled in the agency for the use of about 251 beneficiary institutions – public universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education across the country.

Multiple sources confirmed that the institutions’ 2023 direct disbursement budget which totalled N15.2 billion was for Information Communication and Technology intervention projects.

However, rather than releasing the funds to the institutions as mandated by its operational guidelines, TETFund deducted the funds upfront from each of the institutions, amounting to a total of N7.6 billion.

During an interview with our reporters, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, told PREMIUM TIMES that each beneficiary institution contributed 50 per cent of its ICT funds while each polytechnic and college of education contributed 25 per cent of theirs to the project.

The choice of the project, the sourcing of the contractor, and signing a memorandum of understanding with the vendor were undertaken by TETFund. This development angered the administrators of most of the institutions.

Also, while the project designs and modalities were yet to be finalised, sources confirmed that within a month of the award of the contract TETFund on 30 June 2023 credited the company’s bank account with over N550 million (N550,380,780.23).

The transfer is with mandate number CBN/PROJ/224/JUN2023.

Over N820 million (N820,223,850) was additionally paid into the account on 12 July 2023, while on 26 July 2023 and 17 November 2023, N1.5 billion (N1,503,743,850) and N62.68 million (N62,684,036.05), respectively, were credited to the account by the CBN on behalf of TETFund.

Meanwhile, despite the various supposed beneficiary institutions denying the execution of the project, Mr Chukwuma, during a meeting between PREMIUM TIMES’ reporters and the company’s management, said the project “has been done and dusted.”

PREMIUM TIMES is aware that the project was designed for training 12 ICT officials across the 251 beneficiary institutions, and to onboard more than 500,000 students for both physical and virtual sessions. However, only two ICT officials in each of the tertiary institutions have taken part in what some of these officials described as engagement sessions.

Mr Chukwuma promised to make documentary evidence to back his claim to PREMIUM TIMES in April but as of the time of filing this report he has yet to do so.

He said his company was only helping Nigeria to achieve the very best for the students and the schools, saying the courses being offered the students through the programme has been “ridiculously subsidised.”

Learnt that Mr Chukwuma was on Tuesday invited to give a statement concerning his involvement in the contract scandal being investigated by the agency.

However, sources confirmed that after going through his statement, the antigraft agency imposed strict bail conditions that require the suspect to produce highly placed persons as suretees, among other conditions.

The agency’s spokesperson, Mr Bakare, who confirmed that Mr Chukwuma was in ICPC custody, said the suspect remained in detention because he could not satisfy the bail conditions.

“Yes, Chukwuma is in ICPC’s custody, unable to fulfil bail conditions,” Mr Bakare wrote in a terse statement shared with our reporter on early Wednesday. As of 6.05 p.m. when contacted over the telephone again by our reporter, Mr Bakare said he could not immediately ascertain if the suspect met the bail conditions before the end of official work hours.

Meanwhile, ICPC said the Executive Secretary of TETFund was yet to be invited, and not in its custody as being allegedly circulated.

It, however, said the investigation into the scandal was still ongoing and that it could not rule out the possibility of arresting anyone who played roles in the matter.

“Echono wasn’t invited but investigations are still ongoing,” Mr Bakare said.

Continue Reading

Trending