Nigeria’s foreign investment at risk due to Binance bribery allegations

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SBM Intelligence, an Africa-focused risk consultancy firm, has warned that Binance CEO Richard Teng’s bribery allegations against Nigerian government officials could impede the country’s foreign investment efforts.

In its assessment of recent events and their economic implications, which was shared with media publications, SBM Intelligence noted that the circumstances surrounding the detention of Binance officials in Nigeria send a discouraging message to foreign investors, potentially undermining confidence in the country’s investment landscape.

On Tuesday, May 7, Cointelegraph reported that Teng alleged that some unknown persons sought a cryptocurrency bribe from its executives, Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, before their detention on Feb. 28, 2024.

Despite the Nigerian government’s denial, SBM Intelligence emphasizes the importance of a thorough investigation to uncover the truth and hold any guilty officials accountable. The consulting firm said:

“When government officials are perceived as corrupt or willing to engage in unethical behavior, it can deter foreign investment, undermine the rule of law, and hinder efforts to combat poverty and inequality.”

Nigeria’s government has strongly opposed cryptocurrency, which contradicts its increasing popularity and acceptance among citizens. This highlights a gap between government views and public opinion.

SBM Intelligence suggests that individual citizens are drawn to cryptocurrencies due to the investment and transaction possibilities they offer. However, the government and its agencies negatively view cryptocurrencies because they diminish their control over financial transactions and the economy.

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The company pointed out that it has been over two months since the Nigerian government detained two Binance executives, with one managing to escape. SBM Intelligence also noted President Bola Tinubu has traveled to different countries to attract investors.

However, it emphasized that detaining foreign business officials could make it challenging for the country to attract investors. SBM added:

“No matter the allegations against Binance, it is essential to remember that the story of one foreign business will serve as a cautionary tale to others. If Nigeria is tagged as a country where company officials can be solicited for bribes and then detained indefinitely, convincing investors to invest will become exceedingly challenging.”

The consultancy firm further mentioned that the ongoing narrative surrounding the arrest of the Binance executives reflects poorly on the Nigerian government. It highlighted that resolving the issue promptly, fairly and diplomatically would benefit the Tinubu administration.

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