The Department of State Services ( DSS) has arrested some members of organised syndicates involved in the sale of the newly redesigned naira notes.
Peter Afunanya, the DSS public relations officer, said in a statement on Monday that syndicates connived with some commercial bank officials and were arrested during the secret police’s operation across the country.
“The Department of State Services (DSS) hereby informs the public that it has intercepted some members of organised syndicates involve /d in the sale of the newly redesigned naira notes,” the statement reads.
“In the course of its operations, in this regard in parts of the country, it was also established that some Commercial Bank officials are aiding the economic malfeasance.
“Consequently, the Service warns the currency racketeers to desist from this ignoble act. Appropriate regulatory authorities are, in this same vein, urged to step up monitoring and supervisory activities to expeditiously address emerging trends.
“It should be noted that the Service has ordered its Commands and Formations to further ensure that all persons and groups engaged in the illegal sale of the notes are identified. Therefore, anyone with useful information relating to this is encouraged to pass the same to the relevant authorities.”
Meanwhile, the CBN had warned that hawking of the new naira notes is punishable under the law.
Reacting to reports of some persons hawking the notes in Delta a director at the CBN, Mr Sam Okejere, said trading in naira notes contravenes Section 21 of the CBN Act, 2007 which is punishable under Section 21 Subsection 4 of the Act.
Some persons suspected to be Point of Sales (POS) operators or Shared Agents Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF) Agents have been hawking the redesigned naira notes at exorbitant prices in Delta State.
In spite of the law prohibiting the hawking of naira notes and coins, the perpetrators were seen freely doing their businesses around their POS shops and other places.
It was also observed that trading in the new naira notes was receiving patronage as customers thronged the banks, rushing to beat the January 31 deadline.
In spite of its scarcity in circulation, large wads of different denominations of the notes were seen at the shops of some POS operators for prospective buyers.
A check revealed that a bundle of N200 notes was going for N25,000; N500 notes were being sold at N60,000 and N1,000 notes sold at N120,000 for exchange.
Mr Jude Okon, one of the cash hawkers noticed in lllah community, Oshimili North local government area, said they paid between N50,000 and N100,000 to obtain new N500,000 notes, depending on the denominations of the notes.
Okon declined to disclose the sources of the money.
Mrs Mary Eselemo, a resident of Ukwuani, Ukwuani patronised the hawkers, confirmed that she bought the new N20,000 of N1000 notes at N25,000.
She said she was forced to purchase the money at such price to enable her buy goods to stock her shop as traders no longer accept old naira notes.
“Traders in my community are rejecting the old notes and the money is not available at the banks. Even Central Bank officials on sensitization and monitoring do not give above N10,000 to one person. I have no option than to buy from cash hawkers,” she said.
Reacting to the development, DSP Bright Edafe, the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), Delta State police command, assured that the police would swing into action against the crime.
“We are monitoring the situation, the law forbids it, we will prosecute the suspects once they are caught,” he said.
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