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Cardoso: We’ve uncovered $2.4b foreign exchange scam

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Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Olayemi Michael Cardoso

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Olayemi Michael “Yemi” Cardoso, has stated that security agencies are on the trail of a whopping $2.4 billion foreign exchange scam.

Mr. Cardoso made the remarks after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

According to him, law enforcement agencies are investigating a cache of foreign exchange fraud worth about $2.4 billion.

Cardoso said: “In the cause of that forensic audit, we determined that a number of these transactions did not qualify.

“In some cases, you had some requests, which well you actually had some allocations that were made in millions of dollars, which were never requested for.

“You also had somewhere they had no Naira and they were also allocated, you know, huge sums, the foreign exchange.

“The list goes on and it was for that reason that we refused to validate those particular transactions.

“We refused to validate them because, you know… documentation was not satisfactory.

“In many cases they were outright illegal.

“The law enforcement agencies of course are now looking into those transactions that are as far as we’re concerned, not valid to be paid.”

What is the current interest rate?

Cardoso also revealed that CBN has raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by 200 basis points to 24.75 percent from 22.75 percent.

He noted that the apex bank equally adjusted the asymmetric corridor around the MPR to +100/-300 basis points.

The bank also retained the Cash Reserve Ratio of Deposit Money Banks at 45.0 percent.

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It further adjusted the Cash Reserve Ratio of Merchant Banks from 10.0 percent to 14.0 percent, while the Liquidity Ratio stands at 30.0 percent.

According to Cardoso, CBN will work towards a gradual moderation of inflation rates by May in a bid to maintain price stability.

He also revealed measures to improve agricultural policies, enhance food supply, and improve tax collection.

The CBN henchman condemned what he termed the “oligopolistic nature of restrictions on dairy imports”.

He advocated for an open and inclusive foreign exchange market.

What did he say about Binance?

Cardoso also spoke on the recent move against cryptocurrency in relation to the Binance scandal.

He stressed that cryptocurrency regulation falls under the purview of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The CBN boss noted that Binance is answerable to the rules and regulations guiding monetary transactions as prescribed by SEC.

He disclosed that Deloitte management consultants have been engaged to conduct a comprehensive forensic analysis.

The analysis, which will span several months, will scrutinize the legitimacy of the transactions involving Binance.

He, meanwhile, insisted that certain transactions could not meet the criteria for validation.

According to him, some allocations worth millions of dollars were disbursed without proper documentation.

These, he said, are outrightly illegal.

About Cardoso

Yemi Cardoso currently serves as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Prior to this role, he held the position of Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget in the Lagos State Government.

His career cut across banking, stockbroking and consulting and once served as Board of Citibank Nigeria Chairman.

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He was a member of the Cities Alliance’s Africa Think Tank Group and a board member of MRS Oil.

He was also the chairman of the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance.

Education

Cardoso attended Corona School Ikoyi and St. Gregory’s College, Lagos.

He earned a bachelor’s degree (B.Sc.) in Managerial and Administrative Studies from Aston University, United Kingdom in 1980.

He later pursued a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard Kennedy School of Government (HKS).

Cardoso graduated in 2005 as a fellow of the distinguished Michael Romer Memorial Scholarships.

Banking and Financial Services

His banking career began with Citibank, where he underwent credit training in Athens, Greece, and subsequently worked in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

He later joined Chase Merchant Bank in Nigeria, focusing on trading, construction, and oil and gas relationships.

He will later return to Citibank where he became a founding member of Nigeria International Bank Limited.

Cardoso also served on the bank’s credit committee, assessing and approving credit limits.

President Bola Tinubu appointed him in 2024 as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The appointment was confirmed in September 2023 by the Nigerian Senate, is set for five years.

About the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

The Central Bank of Nigeria plays a pivotal role in shaping the country’s monetary policies, currency management, and financial stability.

It provides daily exchange rates for various currencies, which in turn, are used in transactions involving the Naira.

The Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NFEM) determines these weighted average rates, categorized as Buying, Central and Selling.

The CBN’s role has evolved over time, as it continues to manage Nigeria’s financial stability, currency development, and foreign exchange reserves.

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A glimpse into CBN’s functions and offerings:

Monetary Policy

The CBN formulates and implements monetary policies to regulate money supply, interest rates, and inflation.

It conducts Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meetings to deliberate on key policy decisions.

The current Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) stands at 24.75%.

Currency Development

CBN oversees the development and management of the Nigerian currency and ensures the stability and integrity of the Naira in circulation.

Finance and Payments System

The bank facilitates efficient payment systems, including electronic funds transfer, mobile banking, and digital transactions.

It promotes financial inclusion, aiming for 95% financial inclusion.

Other functions are:

Reserve Management

The bank manages foreign exchange reserves and intervenes in the foreign exchange market to maintain stability.

Financial Stability

CBN monitors and safeguards the stability of Nigeria’s financial system.

It collaborates with stakeholders to ensure a resilient banking sector.

Statistics and Publications

It provides data on inflation rates, exchange rates, and other economic indicators.

With Cardoso at the top of the run, its mission is to foster confidence in the Nigerian economy.


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