Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa has revealed that the agency is currently monitoring three Governors who are allegedly planning to launder stashed billions of naira through table payment of salaries to workers.
Bawa who called for support from Nigerians in an interview with Daily Trust, added that the raid on Bureau De Change operators will be sustained.
The EFCC Chairman during the interview refused to disclose the identity of the three governors. He only said two of them are from the North, while the third Governor is from the southern part of the country.
“I don’t know how they want to achieve that but we have to stop them from doing that. Well, we are working, they have not paid the salaries in cash yet but it is a very serious thing.
“The law is very clear regarding cash transactions. Anybody that is to consummate any cash transaction as an individual, if it is not through a financial institution must not be above N5million and if it is above that it is criminal for you to engage in such transaction. And for corporate entities it is N10million.
“Yes, I agree the salaries are not up to that but why are you all of a sudden, and all along you have been paying people salaries through their bank accounts and now you want to pay them in cash, what are you trying to do? They will come under a lot of guises, they are trying to do verification of officers, that is what we have gotten.”
Bawa also confirmed that there is a mad rush by some people to dispose off their stashed funds by buying properties.
“We are aware of that. Even if you dispose of your property and you receive cash, for that cash to be of value to you after January 31, 2023, you have to take it to the bank; so what happened, are you coming to the bank with those millions? That is why we are working with the bankers and if you have this information let us know about it.”
On raids carried out against BDC operators, Bawa said;
“They (BDCs) are very important in the sense that a lot of people that have this naira cash, will want to convert them to USD or other foreign currencies, that is why they are very important.
“And based on the known gullibility of these people (BDCs), they are willing to accept this cash from the owners of these monies and they are willing to depart with the foreign currencies that they have and so that is why they are very important and very critical to us in this project that we said to ourselves that we are going to do.”
When it was pointed out that Naira’s value is crashing against the dollar, he said;
“The truth of the matter here is just a simple function of demand and supply, people are rushing this commodity not that they are going to use it for any meaningful business engagement but they are just rushing for it, just a store of value, that is what is happening.
“And what they say in economics is the higher the demand, the higher the price; so people are just seeing USD or other hard currencies just the way that they are seeing gold, to get it exchanged and store their value.”
On why he met with chief compliance officers of banks in Lagos recently, Bawa said;
“We knew a lot of people are hoarding these funds, it is with them and they will always find a way of trying to bring it back to the system.
“So, irrespective of what they use their cash for, whether they exchange it for dollars, whether they use it to purchase houses for those that are willing to accept cash, it has to eventually come back to the financial institution. So, irrespective of what you do, the banks are very important and critical in the sense that they are the end recipients of this cash.
“The owner of BDC must deposit the money he exchanged for the currency he did, the owner of real estate must also do the same and all of that. So, we sat down, we deliberated and we agreed on what to do. Everybody is happy about it.”