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EFCC has $20 million in its cryptocurrency wallet

EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, with President Muhammadu Buhari [Presidency]

President Muhammadu Buhari and EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa [President]

Cryptocurrency trading is restricted in Nigeria, but the nation’s apex anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), controls an e-wallet holding at least $20 million.

EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, said during a Channels TV interview on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 that the agency created its own e-wallet to recover cryptocurrency from criminals.

“It has never happened before but we created it. We are now recovering these proceeds of crime from that means as well,” he said.

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Despite the admission, Bawa said he supports the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban financial institutions in Nigeria from processing cryptocurrency in the country.

The apex bank said in February that cryptocurrency investments are volatile and being used by criminals to launder proceeds of crime that are difficult to trace.

Bawa said in the Tuesday interview that the EFCC also sees cryptocurrency as an avenue for people to launder money, a situation he said is worrying.

“It’s something that the whole world is looking at, and I believe that Nigeria will not be left behind when it comes to making its own contribution to ensure that laws and regulations are put in place to checkmate excesses on the usage of cryptocurrency,” he said.

The cryptocurrency trading restriction in Nigeria has been criticised in many quarters, including by even Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, but the CBN has refused to budge.

Trading in the country is now done without the involvement of financial institutions.

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