Nigeria’s High Court has lifted an order freezing the bank accounts of six companies which the central bank accused of sourcing foreign currency illegally to buy cryptocurrencies and foreign securities.
At the central bank’s request, the court froze accounts of six firms for six months pending the outcome of investigations into the purchase of foreign securities and cryptocurrencies using forex from exchange bureaux, money transfer operators and commodity exporters.
High Court Judge Taiwo Taiwo, in a ruling sighted by Afriupdate News on Tuesday, said the central bank’s order relied on a circular to banks, which was not supported in law.
“The interim order freezing the accounts of the (companies) is hereby vacated,” Taiwo said.
Taiwo ordered Zenith Bank and Guaranty Trust Bank, which hold accounts for the companies, to “immediately unfreeze” the accounts and grant them “unfettered access” to the accounts.
The six firms are Bamboo Systems Technology and a related company, Rise Vest Technologies, Chaka Technology, Trove Technologies and CTL/Business Expenses.
A central bank spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In February, the central bank barred financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in cryptocurrencies.
But Cryptocurrency use is thriving in Nigeria, where many are using it for business, to protect their savings as the naira loses value, and to send payments abroad because it is often hard to obtain U.S. dollars, experts and users say.