EFCC warns schools, hotels, others against charging in dollar

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By Isaac Aregbesola

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, has warned schools, supermarkets, hotels and others against charging for services in the country in dollars or any other foreign currency.

Olukoyede, in the latest edition of the commission’s monthly e-magazine, called EFCC Alert released on Monday, threatened to jail anyone found dollarising the economy.

The EFCC boss warned that anyone caught collecting the dollar for services or goods would be treated as a criminal under relevant Nigerian laws.

He vowed that the commission would go after schools, supermarkets, hotels, estate developers and business operators that used the dollar for transaction instead of naira.

“We have also started securing convictions.

“Schools that charge Nigerians in dollar, supermarkets that trade in dollar, estate developers that sell their property in dollar, hotels that are invoicing in dollar, we are coming after you and we have made arrests in that area.

“Yes, if foreigners are coming in and the only means of transacting is their credit card, and dollar, why not, you will get that.

“But document it properly as against selling things within the system, local economy and you will be using dollar as the medium of exchange, it is illegal.

“Our law does not allow for that. And we have also effected some arrests,” he said.

According to him, this is making impact as the rate at which some people advertise goods and services in dollar has really gone down.

“We are not going to relent. We are going to continue until we eradicate mutilation of currency, and illegal dealing in forex. Another area is in the area of illegal forex trading.

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“Coupled with the activities of the CBN, we are trying to ensure that those involved in currency trading are properly licensed, regulated, and do their documentation properly,” he stated.

Olukoyede, while explaining the efforts in ensuring success of the anti-graft war under his leadership, condemned  some Nigerians who continued to celebrate criminals in the country, stressing that such practice was anti-societal.

“I wondered why some Nigerians should be closing their eyes to the atrocities being committed against the nation by those being investigated for financial crimes but trying to attack the commission for doing its job.

“The moment EFCC starts investigating someone, those who have benefited from him one way or the other, will close their eyes to what they have been deprived of by reason of that financial crime.

“They then concentrate on attacking the agency. They use media propaganda and even sometimes physical attack, yet we are working for Nigerians.

“We are working to preserve integrity in the way we do things and so we need the support of Nigerians,” he said.

According to him, people are given money to procure arms and they won’t do it, and so expose those at the warfront to all kinds of danger and peril.

“It is important for us to come together as a people. Outsiders are not going to clean Nigeria for us. We are here. Someone like me I only have one passport, the green passport.

“Corruption is so damaging, and that is why we are where we are today.

“Go to other African countries, small countries across the globe, you will see development, you’ll see good roads, you’ll see quality health facilities.

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“Even the issue of insecurity that we are talking about, one way or the other, it can be linked to corruption.

“I keep telling people that there is nothing wrong with us fundamentally as Nigerians but the system we run, and the processes that we follow are the things that are causing problems for us,” he said.

According to him, there are bad guys all over the world but over there, their system is strong enough to checkmate them and to ensure that there are consequences for wrongdoing.

“So, we need to come together and say wrong is wrong irrespective of whether we are related to the person or not. That is when I’ll believe that we are ready to fight corruption,” he said.

The chairman reiterated his call on the need to establish a special court to try corruption, given the negative effect of corruption on development in the country.

“If we agree that corruption has contributed greatly to underdevelopment, then we must adopt extraordinary means to fight it.

“I have always been an advocate for  creation of special courts, and I will continue to be.

“I believe that the time has come for this, and I also appeal to members of the National Assembly to help us in facilitating this.

“This will be a great boost to the corruption fight in Nigeria. We have laws and regulations guiding our investigations,” Olukoyede said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Chioma Ugboma/Salif Atojoko

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