Nigeria’s Central Bank has barred nine commercial banks from all foreign exchange transactions and operations.
The banks were barred for hiding over $2 billion belonging to the nation’s oil corporation, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and failed to remit the funds into the Treasury Single Account .
The nine banks comprise of three tier-one lenders and another six tier-two deposit money banks.
President Muhammadu Buhari has been briefed on the breach by the banks.
They have been mandated to move the monies to the TSA before any consideration for their re-entry into forex trading.
Two days ago, the banks came under fire from the apex bank, which accused them of engaging in round tripping and threatening to punish them for doing so.
Many of the banks declined official comments on the development.
The Treasury Single Account of the government was established in August 2015, with the government saying it would help check leakages in the system.
At the full implementation of the TSA in 2015, the CBN had warned that banks who not totally comply with the TSA remission plan of possible fine and stringent punishment.
While unveiling the guidelines for foreign exchange trading in June, the CBN reiterated the need for banks to comply or face suspension from the forex market.
The CBN may take action against any FXPD that fails to comply with the standards set forth in these Guidelines. Such action will vary depending upon the type of non-compliance, but may range, for instance, from fines, suspension from any or all FX operations for a period of time to termination as an FXPD,” CBN had said.
In October 2016, the CBN fined two leading banks for the same offence repeated in 2016, leading to the payment of over N4 billion to the apex bank.