#Legal Sense

Currency offences

By Funmilayo Olagunju

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Currency refers to a system of money in general use in a particular country. The National currency of a sovereign Country is recognized by law as the legal tender of that country.

Black’s Law Dictionary defines Legal tender as the money (bills and coins) approved in a country for the payment of debts, the purchase of goods, and other exchanges for value. In the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the legal tender is the Naira by the provision of Section 20 of the Central Bank Act 2007.

Section 20(4) of th CBN Act prohibits the production of false/counterfeit currency:

“It shall be an offence punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than 3 years for any person to falsify, make or counterfeit any bank note or coin issued by the Bank which is legal tender in Nigeria”.

Section 1(1) of the Counterfeit Currency (Special Provisions Act) prohibits the making or counterfeiting of currency:

“Any person who falsely makes or counterfeits any bank note resembling any bank note issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria and which is legal tender in Nigeria, shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and shall on conviction thereof be sentenced to life imprisonment”.

Individuals and Corporate bodies in Nigeria can not demand payment for their goods and services in foreign currencies. Refusal to accept payment or renumeration in Naira is an offence by virtue of Section 20[5] of the Central Bank Act.

“A person who refuses to accept the naira as a means of payment is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N50, 000 or 6 months’ imprisonment: Provided that the Bank shall have powers to prescribe the circumstances and conditions under which other currencies may be used as medium of exchange in Nigeria.”

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Tampering with or trading in notes and coins is an offence proscribed by Section 21 of the CBN Act. Currency shall not be hawked, soiled, squeezed, defaced or otherwise mutilated. The standard procedure for exchange of currency shall be complied with.

But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

I Corinthians 14:40 (NIV)

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