Naira Gets Stronger, Sells N363 Per Dollar

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  • As US highlights How Diezani lavished $100m on furniture, artworks

The Naira got stronger on Tuesday, exchanging at N363 to a Dollar, only few hours after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced new decisions arrived at, at its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting.

The Naira gained two points, moving up from N365 it had posted at the parallel market on Monday, against the Dollar; even as it exchanged for N475 and N420 for the Pound Sterling and the Euro,  respectively at the parallel market.

At the Bureau De Change (BDC) window, the Naira was sold at N362 to the dollar, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro exchanged at N477 and N419, respectively.

Trading at the investors’ window saw the Naira closing at N369.50, while it also closed at N305.75 at the interbank market.

Traders at the market attributed the further appreciation of the Naira to the outcome of the MPC meeting of the CBN.

Meanwhile, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), said that the mop up of liquidity by the CBN was already impacting the exchange rate positively.

Gwadabe maintained that the commitments of the apex bank in driving its liquidity mop up in the economy had sent panic to the camps of currency speculators; stressing that critical stakeholders in the financial market are, by the feat of the apex bank, witnessing a convergence in the prevailing rates between the parallel market and the BDCs.

The MPC rose from its meeting retaining the Monetary Policy Ratio (MPR) at 14 per cent alongside other monetary policy parameters.

The CBN also pledged to intensify its intervention at the nation’s foreign exchange market until the Naira attained full recovery; assuring that it would continue its liquidity mop up in the overall interest of the economy.

In the meantime, the United States of America has given the details of how a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, allegedly laundered about $144m, using part of the funds to purchase a yacht, landed properties, furniture and artworks.

According to the US, while she held sway as the Nigerian petroleum minister, Diezani, who was otherwise known as “the Madam” or “Madam D,” led “a lavish and privileged lifestyle,” spending “more than one million dollars on furniture, artwork, and other furnishings purchased within the Southern District of Texas, and shipped, in part, to London and Abuja, Nigeria.”

These were contained in a 91-page “verified complaint” filed by the US Government before the US District Court, Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, where it is seeking an order to forfeit funds and assets worth $144m linked to Diezani.

The US, in the “verified complaint” signed by a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Elizabeth Crispino, said Diezani allegedly acquired the assets with kickbacks from “an international conspiracy to obtain lucrative business opportunities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.”

The assets, the US stated, were acquired between April 2010 and May 2015 when Diezani was “overseeing Nigeria’s state-owned oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.”

Among the properties, which the US now seeks to be forfeited, are a 65-metre motor yacht, named M/Y Galactica Star; two properties known as 807 and 815 Cima Del Mundo Road, Montecito, Calif; as well as funds in a couple of companies.

The US stated that Diezani, with the help of  and in conspiracy with two Nigerian businessmen, Kolawole Akanni Aluko and Olajide Omokore, “laundered the proceeds of the illicit business opportunities into and through the United States.”

In the court processes obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, the US detailed, using tables, the “living and lifestyle expenses for Alison-Madueke.”

Additional report from Punch