The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, psaid the commission has recovered $20million worth of cryptocurrency from suspected cybercriminals.
Bawa, who stated this on a TV programme monitored by our reporter on Tuesday,
said the commission sees cryptocurrency as an avenue where criminals launder proceeds of crime.
According to Bawa, “As it is today, there is nowhere in the world where cryptocurrency is being regulated. The EFCC is looking at cryptocurrency as an avenue where people are laundering their proceeds of crime,” he said.
“Where people are receiving proceeds of crime and that is our worry. We have seen again and again how cybercriminals are using it as an avenue to get their proceeds of crime.
“Before, it used to be through money transfer agencies like Money Gram and Western Union.
“They will defraud somebody and get gift cards, and exchange in dark webs, and use the proceeds to buy crypto. And then of course get it into their e-wallets and they can sell and get their money.
“As it is now today, we have about $20 million worth of cryptocurrency because we also created our own crypto wallet to recover cryptocurrency. We are now recovering the proceeds of crime.
“We are in support of what the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has done because it has reduced the ease for which these criminals can get cryptocurrency and get naira for it.
“I believe we will not be left behind when it comes to ensuring that laws and regulations are put in place to checkmate the excesses of cryptocurrency.”
Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a directive that banks should close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions within their systems.
The EFCC boss also said between January to June 3, 2021, 1,436 suspected cybercriminals have been arrested across the country.
“From January to June, according to the statistics, the EFCC has arrested 1436 suspected cybercriminals across the federation,” he said.
The EFCC chairman also alleged that he has been receiving death threats, noting that, “Last week, I was in New York as all Nigerians are aware of. A very senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation. What he (the caller) said to him on the phone is that; he is going to kill the EFCC chairman, the young man.
“He said, ‘I am going to kill him. I am going to kill him’. This is to tell you how bad it is. It is actually real. Corruption can fight back.”