The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Commission(ICPC), Bolaji Owasanoye has said that the #EndSARS protest was largely financed by cryptocurrency; and an indication that it could be used to fund Insurgency.
This was as the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit(NFIU), said his agency averted a $3million fraud linked to twenty bank accounts.
Addressing senators at an interactive meeting with Senate Joint Committee on Banking, ICT, Cybercrime and Capital Market on the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria
to ban Cryptocurrency in Nigeria, the ICPC boss backed the position of the Central Bank; stressing that Cryptocurrency lends itself to money laundering and terrorism financing.
He further disclosed that the anti-graft agency currently has a number of cases linked to Cryptocurrency but is unable to track the suspects.
In kicking against Cryptocurrency, he reminded the Senate how in 2018 a number of globally rated financial institutions had their financial statements hacked with the perpetrators asking to be paid in Cryptocurrencies.
The ICPC Chairman said while the CBN as the regulator has the responsibility to ensure sound financial stability; it will be difficult to achieve in the case of Cryptocurrencies
where the role players are unknown.
To drive home his point, he left the lawmakers with a warning to urgently take decisive action against Cryptocurrencies sharing with them the experience of the Indian Supreme Court and how it ruled and admitted that it “does not know what it is”.
In his own presentation, the Director/CEO, NFIU, Tukur Moddido kicked strongly against Cryptocurrencies; pointing out that they failed the critical tests of vulnerability and attendant risks.
According to Modibbo, the NFIU through its Cyber Intelligence stopped a scam of roughly $3 million.
Earlier, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele maintained his previous stance that Cryptocurrency is highly inimical to the Nigerian economy and could further weaken an already weak currency Naira.
According to Emefiele, Cryptocurrency is “money created out of thin air”, with the players untraceable and unknown.
” We know enough at this stage to decide that the opaque nature significantly threatens our transaction and as you know the CBN has the primary responsibility to protect the investment of every player in the space”, Emefiele said.
He said Cryptocurrency is used to describe the activities of players in the dark world where the transactions are opaque.
He said Cryptocurrency is used to facilitate scam and money laundering; adding that Nigeria has become the second in the use of Cryptocurrencies used in financing terrorism in the world.
“Our business is not a popularity contest but to protect uninformed players. The decision we have taken is in the best interest of every Nigerian who has nothing to hide”.
Speaking, the Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) Lamido Yuguda seems to have a more liberal stance toward the use of Cryptocurrencies when he said it should and can be regulated.
Without dismissing the fears expressed by the CBN, NFIU and ICPC, the SEC boss said his agency can develop an appropriate regulatory framework to protect investments in Cryptocurrencies and ensure the operators are duly registered.