A Federal High Court in Abuja has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to freeze accounts of some investment and trading platforms that Nigerians have been using for online transactions.
The order was made by Justice Ahmed Mohammed on Tuesday while delivering his ruling in an ex parte application filed by the CBN through its lawyer, Micheal Aondoakaa (SAN).
Justice Mohammed stated that persons who were aggrieved by the order were free to approach the court for redress.
The CBN informed the court that the financial activities of the defendants were being probed for operating without obtaining licence as asset management companies and utilizing FX sourced from the Nigerian FX market for purchasing foreign bonds/shares in contravention of the CBN circular referenced TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/012, dated July 01, 2015.
The defendants affected by the order are Risevest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Bamboo Systems Tech. Ltd OPNS, Chaka Technologies Limited, CTL/Business Expenses and Trove Technologies Limited.
The CBN had asked for an interim order of the court “empowering the plaintiff/ applicant to direct the head offices of Zenith Bank Plc (Churchgate Street, Victoria Island, Lagos), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (Plot 635, Akin Adesola, Victoria Island, Standard Chartered Bank (142, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.), Access Bank of Nigeria (999c, Danmole Street, off ldejo Street, Off Adetola Odeku Street, Victoria Island, Lagos), VFD Microfinance Bank (Elephant House. 5, Floor, 214 Broad Street, Marina Island, Lagos), to freeze forthwith all the bank accounts of the defendants/respondents for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry conducted by the CBN.”
A senior supervisor of the apex bank, Christiana Gyang, testified to the fact that the bank had reviewed the activities of the defendants to determine their alleged involvement in illegal foreign exchange.
In reaction to the court order, Risevest sent an email to all its customers.
The mail read, “With regard to the latest news about us and our FX dealings, you can be sure that your investments and funds are safely managed, that funding and withdrawals will continue to be processed as normal, and that all our US operations remain intact.
“We will work with regulators, as we always have to ensure that all issues raised are properly addressed. However, this does not affect our users or their investments, which are managed by regulated third parties in all jurisdictions in which we operate. Thank you for choosing Rise.”
Also reacting through a tweet, Bamboo said, “Hi everyone, we are aware of the recent reports about us. Our legal and government relations teams are looking into them but we thought it was important to let you know that your money remains safe with Bamboo and will always be readily accessible.”