• Demands 7 years account statements from banks

BY CHINYERE OBIORA – Disturbed by rising cases of illicit financial practices involving some betting companies and their sponsors, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has moved to access their accounts and curb alleged abuses of extant regulations in the system

To make good its decision, the apex bank has therefore directed all banks in the country to submit statements of domiciliary accounts of some high profile individuals, including owners of popular betting companies Nigeria.

The directive, contained in a memo dated September 15, 2020 and signed by one Z. Markus for Director of Banking Supervision, quoted the CBN as saying; “You are required to furnish us with the domiciliary account statements (Excel and PDF formats) of the under listed individuals, including the domiciliary accounts linked to them by Bank Verification Number (BVN).”

According to the CBN’s order, the statements being requested should cover the period from January 1, 2013 to July 31, 2020.

Importantly, the current development is coming on the heels of CBN’s recent clampdown on the accounts of 38 companies that include betting companies; bureau de change; and some logistics firms.

Considered one of the thriving sectors in Nigeria today with rising growth rate indicators amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) health challenge, the sports betting business is daily confronted with issues of fraud and money laundering.

According to recent statistics, over 60 million Nigerians within the 18 and 40 age bracket are spending about N2.8 billion daily on gambling in the sport betting business.

Also, there are reports indicating growing concerns that most funds in the sector could be deployed for illegal financial transactions and this may have prompted the apex bank’s decision to intervene and sanitize the system.

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