Bankers to partner anti-corruption agencies against money laundering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

The Committee of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria said it will partner with relevant agencies for the development and effective implementation of policies concerning anti-money laundering, and combating financing of terrorism in Nigeria.

The Managing Director of Citi Bank, Emeka Emuwa, made this known in Lagos while deliberating on the implications of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, circular on the need for Designated Non Financial Institutions, DNFIs, to register with the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Mr. Emuwa acknowledged the need for adherence to statutory regulations. He said the contributions of compliance officers had raised the profile of Nigeria in the international community.

Also speaking, Obot Udofia, who represented the CBN at the programme, said the registration of DFNIs with the SCUML and compliances with anti-graft policies would ultimately help to delist Nigeria from the position it holds in the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, list “where the country’s rating is gradually degenerating”.

Mr. Udofia also warned that erring institutions will be sanctioned appropriately “since the establishment of SCUML was based on recommendations 22 and 23 of the International Standard on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation, developed by the FATF.”

Head of SCUML, Angela Nworgu, said the directive of the apex bank is capable of enhancing efforts at implementing Nigeria’s anti-money laundering laws and combating the financing of terrorism. She said it would automatically translate into more registrations and supervisory work to ensure compliance with the law, since the circular has immediate and nationwide effect.

She called on all DNFIs and financial institutions nationwide to ensure strict compliance, warning that non-compliance would attract appropriate sanctions.

The CBN had in August, 2012, directed financial institutions to liaise with the SCUML before dealing with Bureau- de-change, hotels, law firms and accounting firms, which are categorised as Designated Non-financial Businesses and Professions. The apex bank also gave a six-month deadline for the directive, effective from August 2, 2012.

The directive mandates all financial institutions, prior to establishing business relationships with DNFIs, to obtain evidence of registration with SCUML.

SCUML was established in 2005 as a special unit to fight Money Laundering as spelt out in the Money Laundering Prohibition Act. It has the mandate to monitor, supervise and regulate the activities of all designated non-financial institutions in Nigeria in consonance with the country’s anti money laundering and combating of the financing of terrorism regime.

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