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CBN gets interim order to freeze accounts of FX online platforms, says dealings contravene policy

For using foreign exchange sourced from the Nigerian market to purchase foreign bonds/shares in contravention of a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directive issued in July 2015, the Federal High Court in Abuja, has ordered the temporary freezing of the bank accounts of six online investment platforms for 180 days, based on an ex parte motion filed by CBN’s lawyer and a former Attorney-General of the Federation, Michael Aondoakaa.

The CBN directive under reference is TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/012, and dated July 1, 2015.

According to a report by Premium Times, the investment platforms are operated by Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Bamboo Systems Tech. Ltd OPNS, Chaka Technologies Limited, CTL/Business Expenses and Trove Technologies Limited.

The CBN informed Justice Ahmed Mohammed that the forex deals by the defendants were undercutting the strength of the naira against the United States dollar.

The Bank prayed for and was granted an interim order to ensure that the 15 accounts of the firms are blocked for 180 days, to stop the firms from moving their funds out of Nigeria.

In their court affidavit, CBN claims that the platforms were violating Nigeria’s trading laws including dealing in cryptocurrency in contravention of the CBN policy.

Bamboo and Risevest have reacted to the ruling, saying they will work with regulators to resolve the concerns and regularize issues, while assuring their customers that their investments were safe.

“We’re aware of the recent reports about us. Our legal and government relations teams are looking into it but we thought it was important to let you know that your money remains safe with Bamboo and will always be readily accessible,” Bamboo told its clients.

The six fintech firms have become increasingly popular, particularly among young urban Nigerians, allowing them to invest in foreign stocks and bonds, with experts saying they have increased financial inclusion in the country.

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