A N100 million foreign exchange fraud has been uncovered at the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
In its wake, 70 staffers, including assistant directors and senior managers at the exchange control department have been placed on an indefinite suspension.
Authorities sources at the CBN waid the fraud which was perpetuated during the dying days of the Second-tier Foreign Exchange, SFEM, was blown open by an anonymous petition from an aggrieved customer.
The Republic gathered that the brains behind the act carried out foreign exchange transactions at their first tier rates long after the SFEM had been introduced.
Investigations are still wading through piles of back dated forms which were used for the illegal transfer.
Sources said the gains accruing from wide margin between the first tier rate (60 kobo to one dollar) and the SFEM rate which was sometimes as high at N6 to one dollar went into secret accounts of some of the staffers.
Goaded by foreign exchange scarcity, some of the customers were said to have cooperated with the dubious employees while others merely bought foreign exchange at what was regarded as the official price.
One of the suspended staffers told The Republic yesterday tat all those affected have been asked to submit their account numbers to the CBN authorities for scrutiny.
The fraud was confirmed at the Foreign Exchange department but sources added that the total amount involved may be more than N100 million. No official wanted to be quoted.
Another source at the CBN said the discovery could explain the series of embargo placed on foreign exchange for some companies.
The CBN has set up an investigation and disciplinary committee to look into the matter. The committee has started sitting and some of those suspended are now testifying.