NFIU denies requesting bank details of NASS, Judiciary

Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU
Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU

The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) said it did not write to banks demanding the bank accounts of leaders of the National Assembly and the Judiciary

A document, said to be from the NFIU, was circulated on Friday showing a request to banks for the information on the accounts of the legislature and the judiciary.

“Kindly provide the NFIU with a schedule (account names and account numbers) of the National Assembly, members of National Assembly and principal officers of National Assembly Service Commission, as well as all accounts of National Judicial Service Commission and their principal officers, including judges and other relevant politically exposed persons.

“Kindly note that your response is expected on or before September 13, 2019,” the letter reads.

In the letter dated September 10 and signed by the Associate Director, Analysis and Compliance, Fehintola Salisu, the NFIU gave all the banks until September 13 to comply with the directive. The letter was addressed to all Chief Compliance Officers of the banks.

The NFIU, however, said it did not make such request from the banks. It did not, however, categorically declare the document as fake.

The agency’s Chief Media Analysts, Ahmed Dikko, in a statement said the NFIU does not need to write banks to get details of accounts.

Mr Dikko said the NFIU already has access to the account details of all the principal officers of the National Assembly and the Judiciary.

“The attention of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), has been drawn to media reports stating that the unit has requested banks to furnish it with the account details of principal officers of the National Assembly and the Judiciary. Such reports are not true.

“In line with its powers as provided in the NFIU Act 2018, the Unit already has access to details of all bank accounts in the country and does not therefore, need to write to commercial banks asking for the same information.

“As a matter of fact, relevant reporting entities such as investigative and other Law Enforcement Agencies always rely on the NFIU for information on bank details of individuals and body corporate under investigation as they go about carrying out their functions. Such is a mandatory reporting process,” the statement read in part.

Mr Dikko added that the agency does not also make blanket requests to all banks. He urged the media and the general public to disregard the reports.

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