The stakeholders, who gathered in Abuja, to explore new frontiers in Nigeria’s anti money-laundering regime through effective use of data, alleged that Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not done enough in combating money laundering.
According to them, the apex bank must take a bold step in designing preventive measures and enforcing regulations that would curb commercial banks and individuals arbitrariness engaged Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) out of Nigeria.
The Executive Firector, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Musa insisted that money laundering and illicit financial outflows from Nigeria, which now hovers around $17 billion requires urgent action from CBN.
“Given its role as the regulator, it has the responsibility to regulate all the banks and monitor them, as well as ensuring that there is compliance. We have not seen much of that happening, because if it is happening, we will not see huge sums of money leaving the country. Someone is not doing what should be done.
“There is a need for CBN to tightening up. There is a need for CBN to bring in policies and legal framework that will deter looters from siphoning government’s money,” he said. Musa said growth in volume of financial transactions across borders, greater integration of world economies, frequently expanding or changing rules to manage new realities have greatly increased the spate and sophistication of money laundering worldwide and also in Nigeria.He pointed out that the number of prosecutions for financial crimes hit an all-time high in Nigeria in 2019.
According to him, though the Financial Intelligence Unit, having been made autonomous, has been positioned to deliver on its mandate and convictions arising from suspicious transactions reports, their record in this area is still abysmally low.
Acting President, Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Aminu Gwadabe said over one million operators of Bureaux De Change in the country are not registered, and as such, short-change government in terms of taxes and illicit operations.
“There are over million unlicensed operators in the country. This excludes online operators that don’t even have location. Every licensed Bureaux de Change has an office, registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, renders returns to CBN, and prepares audited account, pay taxes and others.
“This is what makes us different. We are under an umbrella body that protects our investment, empower compliance and enhance capacity,” he said.Gwadabe said the Association has recorded a sustained exchange rate devoid of volatility, speculation and fraud, adding that the group is seeking partnership that would address some of its inadequacies.