Home Money Nigerian Govt Goes After Bet9ja, NairaBet, Premier Lotto Others Over Alleged Forex Illegality
Money - September 17, 2020

Nigerian Govt Goes After Bet9ja, NairaBet, Premier Lotto Others Over Alleged Forex Illegality

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is putting a searchlight on the country’s billion-naira betting industry and other high profile individuals amid foreign exchange crisis that continues to weaken the naira.

The apex bank issued a directive on September 15, titled ‘Request for statement of accounts’, and signed by the Director of Banking Supervision, CBN, Z. Marcus. In the letter, Deposit Money Banks were ordered to provide the domiciliary account details of some betting companies and 16 other individuals, who are mostly Bureau de Change operators. The banks were also mandated to provide details of other accounts linked to the customers through the Bank Verification Number (BVN).

The companies and individuals were accused of Forex violations and economic sabotage. A local newspaper reported that the CBN had, in a recent circular, ordered debit banks to freeze the accounts of some of the companies and persons listed in the letter.

The letter reads in part, “You are required to furnish us with the domiciliary account statements (Excel and PDF format of the under-listed individuals including the domiciliary accounts linked to them by the Bank Verification Number.

“The statement should cover the period January 1, 2013 to July 31, 2020.”

ALSO READ: CBN Injects $210m into Forex To Save Naira

Some of the names listed in the letter include, Chief Kesington A. Adebutu; Adebisi A. Adebutu; Ajibola Bankole Adebutu; Olanipekun Orekoya Adebutu; and Olasegun Oladiran Adebutu – these individuals are directors of Premier Lotto.

The founder of NairaBet and a member of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Akinola Adekunle Alabi was also listed. Others are Adekunle O. Soname and Ayodeji Ojuroye, owners of Bet9ja; Oluwadamilare Olubukola Alabi, Oluwafemi Babalola and Adetayo Cosmas Adesanwo.

The CBN also listed names of some foreigners who do business in the country – they are David Patrick Grogan, Domenico Giovando, Mauro Ripamonti, Charbel Jabbour Chidiac, and Byron Powell.

The CBN had not responded to our email enquiries on the matter at the time of filing this report.

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