EFCC Storms Onitsha Main Market Over Alleged Money Laundering

efcc-chairman-ibrahim-lamorde1-360222345Palpable apprehension enveloped the Onitsha Main Market in Anambra state yesterday as operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) stormed the popular market after arresting seven traders at the Enugu Interna¬tional Airport for alleged money laundering.
It was learnt that the development sparked tension, es¬pecially among importers and operators of Bureau de Change in the market.
According to a source, the arrested trad¬ers, who were traveling either to China or Dubai, were carrying with them dollars above the official limit stipulated for those traveling outside Nigeria, adding that some had $100,000, while others were in possession of $60,000. The officially allowed maximum travel allow¬ance is $5000.
The source said that upon in¬terrogation, the traders were said to have mentioned where they purchased the foreign currency in the market, which resulted in the presence of the EFCC operatives at the main market to arrest the dealers.
Chairman of the Onitsha Main Market Traders Union (OMMA¬TU), Chief Innocent Agudiegwu, who confirmed the incident, said that the traders were arrested at the airport and brought to the market where it was ascertained that they were genuine traders and not money launderers as initially suspected.
The market union leader said seven traders were involved from different markets in Onitsha, who were also con¬firmed to be shop owners and genuine importers, traveling outside the country to buy goods.
Agudiegwu, however, clarified that the traders were not detained but their dol¬lars and international passports were seized.
He, therefore, urged the anti-graft agency to hasten its investigation and release the money and the passports to their owners.
Source: The SUN