19 May 2017

Nigeria: Reps Summon CBN Gov, Magu, Others Over N12 Billion Virtual Currency Scheme

Abuja — The House of Representatives, yesterday, summoned Mr Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and Mr Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over the N12 billion virtual currency scheme involving 60,000 Nigerian investors.

Chairman, House Committee on Public Petition, Mr Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, who issued the directive at the end of the investigative hearing on the petition instituted by Philemon Gora, promoter of the virtual currency scheme, also directed Mr Ibrahim Idris, Inspector General of Police, to appear in person before the committee on May 30, 2017.

The petitioner alleged that Diamond Bank unlawfully closed the scheme's account and withheld fund deposited in the account worth N12 billion.

Gora, who assured the committee of paying all the depositors as soon as the account was unfrozen, lamented that he was informed that the bank account of the scheme had been frozen on the orders of EFCC and CBN, when he wanted to refund his clients.

He said he took the matter to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, after he was arrested severally and suffered demoralisation.

He said: " Clients are hunting us because of the situation," noting that one of his staff had been sentenced to seven years jail term due to the crisis.

In her response, Georgina Nwankwo, CBN Executive Director, who acknowledged receipt of the petition in February 2014, noted that the petitioner was advised to resolve the matter with his banker, adding that the apex bank can only intervene if the parties couldn't resolve it amicably.

She said: "When a matter is in court, we don't interfere. According to the petition we got from him, the court asked them to go back and see how the matter can be resolved. And since the matter was before the court, we couldn't do anything. It's unfortunate that the EFCC, the Police and Diamond Bank are not here to tell us what they have done with the judgment of the court."

On her part, Unoma Ndulue, Diamond Bank Team Legal, North, who argued that there was no money in the account with Diamond Bank, confirmed that the fund in question is a "virtual fund. A Crypto currency that is traded online."

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