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CBN Vows To Prosecute AbokiFX Promoter Over Forex Manipulation, Illegal Trading

Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.
Central Bank of Nigeria's (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele gives a press conference on the naira devaluation during a media briefing in Abuja on June 15, 2016. AFP / PHILIP OJISUA (Photo credit should read PHILIP OJISUA/AFP/Getty Images)

September 17, (THEWILL) – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has vowed to prosecute the Founder of AbokiFX, the website that quotes daily foreign exchange rates, Oniwinde Olusegun Adedotun, accusing him of currency manipulation, speculation and illegal forex dealings.

Governor of the bank, Godwin Emefiele, who confirmed THEWILL’s exclusive reporting on the development, spoke Friday while answering questions from newsmen in Abuja after the outcome of the two-day Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting.

Emefiele claimed that Oniwinde, who is based in the United Kingdom, was engaging in speculative activities, making profits from the disparity in quoted rates and official exchange rates.

AbokiFX is a web platform that reports the value of the naira against the major foreign currencies.

The website is registered in Arizona, United States, and is the 63rd most visited website in Nigeria.

Noting that the apex bank was in collaboration with several international agencies to ensure that the principal of AbokiFX was brought to book, Emefiele further alleged that Oniwinde has 25 bank accounts in eight banks that are filled with money from his alleged speculative activities.

According to Emefiele, the Founder of AbokiFX founder is an illegal dealer with tens of millions invested across several Nigerian companies, but he vowed to track him in the UK and ensure he is prosecuted for his alleged crimes, one of which he claimed is currency manipulation.

He said Oniwinde must explain how he gets the rates he publishes on his website, noting that the Central Bank has mandated its experts to work on the platform, apparently to bring it down and make it inaccessible to users.

He said, “I have given instructions to our experts to go after his website and let it be clear that we will go after him, because we can’t allow this to continue.”

According to the Emefiele, the CBN doesn’t recognise any forex market window besides the Investors and Exporters window.

He said,  ”Mr. Oniwinde started the AbokiFX operation in 2015 and has since milked the economy by manipulating the exchange rate.

“Oniwinde lives in London while concocting criminal activities on our economy. Our preliminary findings show that the company continues to file the same cash account in the United Kingdom whereas he maintained about 25 accounts with eight banks in Nigeria, milking the system and collecting cash through Automatic Teller machines in London.

“He then sells tens of millions in FX to companies in Nigeria; we will go after them all.”

Emefiele said, according to the CBN Act, Section 2, only the apex bank can determine the value of the naira.

Olusegun Adedotun Oniwinde is the brain behind AbokiFX.

Its sole owner, Oniwinde is of British nationality, born in September 1975 and is said to reside in England.

His AbokiFX is a web platform that reports the value of the naira against the major foreign currencies.

Registered in Britain with Company Number 09806769 in January 2016, AbokiFX had 1 million ordinary shares with the nominal value of £1,000 fully paid with Olusegun Adedotun Oniwinde as the identifiable Director.

It is cited as a private company, limited by shares, with its operating office address as 71, Peartree Close, South Ockendon, Essex, United Kingdom.

In the opening year of 2016, it reported its business dormant to England authorities, with its balance sheet closed off at its opening figure of £1,000, while retaining its 1 million shares valued at £0.001 each.

It reported dormancy and did not file returns for taxable income in line with Section 476 of the 2006 Companies Act related to dormancy from 2016 up to 2020.