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CBN says clean funds above $10,000 can be legally transferred

By The Rainbow
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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it has not set $10,000 as the bar of the money that could be brought in or taken out of the country.

The bank  explained in a circular that that genuinely owned or obtained funds or negotiable instruments in excess of $10,000 or its equivalent could be brought into Nigeria or taken out after declaring them to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

The regulator in a circular referenced FPR/DIR/CIR/GEN/03/004 which it sent to banks and other financial institutions said this clarification became necessary in view of some misinterpretation of the provision of section 2 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act (MLPA), 2011 (as amended).

The circular was signed by the bank's Ag. Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department CBN, Y.B Duniya.

According to the circular, it  has been misinterpreted to mean that fund transactions and negotiable instruments to or from a foreign country in excess of $10,000 or its equivalent is prohibited.

It explained that what is the regulation is that travelers are not supposed to travel out of Nigeria with cash of more than $10,000 except such amount is declared to the Customs officers either at the airport or any of the land borders.

'Section 2(5) provides that any person who falsely declares or fails to make a declaration to the NCS pursuant to section 12 of the Foreign Exchange Act, Cap. F34, LFN, 2004 is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to forfeit the undeclared funds or negotiable instrument or to imprisonment of not less than two (2) years or both,' it said.

The apex bank therefore enjoined travellers to understand that it is the false declaration or failure to make a declaration that to the NCS that is the offence; stressing that forfeiture of the undeclared funds or negotiable instrument will occur upon conviction.

'The import of the above provisions is that it is mandatory for only the holders of cash or negotiable instruments in excess of $10,000 to declare such funds or their equivalent to the NCS.

'It is the false declaration or failure to make such declaration to the NCS that attracts prosecution and subsequent sanction and forfeiture of the undeclared funds or instruments upon conviction.

'To this end, the provisions in question do not imply, in any manner that genuinely owned or obtained funds or negotiable instruments in excess of $10,000 or its equivalent cannot be brought into Nigeria or taken outside the country,' the circular read in part.'