An exparte application seeking the temporary suspension of bank accounts belonging to certain online investment and trading platforms where Nigerians transact business online has been granted by the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The application was filed by Chief Micheal Kaase Aondoakaa, SAN, on behalf of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in order to investigate the defendants’ financial operations in Nigeria.
The defendants are Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Bamboo Systems Tech. Ltd OPNS, Chaka Technologies Limited, CTL/Business Expenses and Trove Technologies Limited.
The CBN claimed that Rise Vest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Chaka Technologies Limited, and Trove Technologies Limited were complicit in operating without a license as asset management companies “and utilizing FX sourced from the Nigerian FX market for purchasing foreign bonds/shares in contravention of the CBN circular referenced TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/012, dated July 01, 2015.”
Aondoakaa informed Justice Ahmed Mohammed that the defendants’ foreign exchange transactions were contributing to the Naira’s depreciation against US dollars, necessitating the necessity to freeze 15 of their accounts for 180 days.
Part of the motion reads:
“An Interim Order of this Honorable Court empowering the Plaintiff/ Applicant to direct the Head Offices of ZENITH BANK PLC (Churchgate Street, Victoria Island, Lagos), GUARANTY TRUST BANK PLC (Plot 635, Akin Adesola, Victoria Island, STANDARD CHARTERED BANK (142, Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos.), ACCESS BANK OF NIGERIA (999c, Danmole Street, Off ldejo Street, Off Adetola Odeku Street, Victoria Island, Lagos), VFD MICROFINANCE BANK (Elephant House. 5, Floor, 214 Broad Street, Marina Island, Lagos), to freeze forthwith all the bank accounts of the Defendants/ Respondents for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry conducted by the CBN.”
The CBN had analyzed the defendants’ operations to ascertain their suspected involvement in unlawful foreign exchange (FX) trading, according to an affidavit filed by a Senior Supervisor of the CBN, Christiana Gyang.
She stated that investigation showed that the platforms were violating Nigeria’s trading laws.
It says, “Rise Vest Technologies Limited was Incorporated In October 2018 with objects of technological and business consultancy. The shareholders of the company at incorporation were Eke Eleanya Urum and Rise Vast Technologies Limited (USA). The company partners with companies involved in payments and settlements as well as internal and international remittances.
“However, information on the company’s website indicated that it is an asset management company, which provides a platform for customers to invest in foreign instruments using an app called “Risevest”.