CBN denies alleged plan to freeze domiciliary accounts

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has refuted the claims in some quarters that it was planning to seize funds in domiciliary accounts of individuals, saying the claim was “false”.

The CBN also said yesterday that it does not have any plan to amend the nation’s Foreign-Exchange Act to sanction anyone found hoarding foreign currencies, as earlier rumoured.

“To the best of my knowledge, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not proposed any bill seeking to arrest and jail persons holding foreign exchange for more than 30 days,” Acting Director, Corporate Communications of the bank, Isaac Okorafor said in a statement yesterday, adding that the CBN has nothing to do with such legislation.

The media was recently awash with the news that the CBN was planning to amend the Foreign-Exchange Act to provide for the imprisonment of anyone who holds foreign currencies, particularly the United States dollars, for more than 30 days, and confiscate funds in domiciliary accounts of individuals.

But Okorafor denied having knowledge of such move to amend the act to make provision for a jail term for as long as two years or a fine of 20 per cent of the amount for any holder of foreign exchange in cash over a 30-day period.

In March, the Deputy Governor, Financial System and Surveillance of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Dr Joseph Nnanna, blamed the decline in the value of the naira on the actions of few individuals in the country, stressing that some individuals have about $20 billion currently lying idle in their domiciliary accounts.

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