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For its punishment, Citibank Nigeria was penalized in the sum of N 1,,, The CBN Spokesman further disclosed that the decision of the Bank followed thorough investigations by it into the allegations of remittances by the four banks of forex with irregular certificates of Capital Importation CCIs issued on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.
While disclosing that the investigations by the CBN took a while in order to carry out thorough inquiry and give fair hearing to all parties involved, Mr.
Okorafor advised all banks and multinational companies in Nigeria to adhere strictly to the provisions of all extant laws and regulations of Nigeria in their foreign exchange transactions.
He warned that failure by the management of banks and companies to abide by the existing guidelines would be appropriately sanctioned, which sanctions may include denial of access to the Nigerian foreign exchange market.
Details of the Investigations. Our investigation also revealed the following, among others: Implementation of the decision in item 5B of your board resolution dated November 08, and submission of documentary evidence to that effect to the Director, Trade and Exchange Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria; and. Provision of an undertaking that no remittance for either interest or principal repayment would be made to the shareholders from the date of the loan to the date they were converted to preference shares.
The investment was carried out through the inflow of foreign currency cash transfers and equipment importation, which was evidenced by the CCIs issued by your bank, Citi Bank CB and Diamond Bank DB at the initial stage of the investment. Your action in this regard constituted a rendition of false returns to the Central Bank of Nigeria. Other findings from our investigation included the following: Ramp of the week prize.
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Nhleko temporarily took the reins as MTN executive chairman between and to help steer the company through its regulatory challenges in Nigeria.
The audit report centres on foreign exchange declarations the banks issued to their client, MTN, for whom Nigeria is its biggest and most lucrative market. It is unclear whether the Nigerian government has provided the banks with a copy of the report and has given them an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
Sceptical analysts have previously suggested that the Nigerian government has been targeting SA multinationals with regulatory fines in the wake of the oil price slump of , which had left Nigeria with budget deficits and constrained foreign currency reserves.
Nigeria is particularly vulnerable to sudden shocks in its foreign currency reserves because of its dependence on a single commodity — oil. Its foreign exchange regime was established to control the level of currency flows in and out of the country, partly so it has enough reserves to buy vital imports such as manufactured goods, food and medicines. The commercial banks are required under Nigerian law to check the inflow is a legitimate investment in practice this means checking four or five supporting documents before issuing the investor with a certificate of capital importation CCI showing the date and value of the conversion into naira.
By law, the banks must not only issue the CCI within 24 hours of receipt of the foreign inflow, but also declare it to the Central Bank within 48 hours. This provides the central bank with prompt data which it can use to manage its currency reserves. Importantly, a validly issued CCI later acts as a pass for the investor to repatriate any profits and dividends, subject to paying tax. By law, banks also have to declare all outgoing repatriations to the central bank.
Standard Chartered and Citibank Nigeria declined to comment, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation. The audit has also raised questions about the regulatory role of the central bank itself.
It also reportedly cleared MTN of any wrongdoing. It told Finance Uncovered: It is understood that the central bank has set up a committee which is still considering the report, and the question of criminal charges remains before the attorney-general. The amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism produced this story.