Lagos - The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) threatened to punish banks that were not complying with some anti-laundering provisions.
NFIU said by not complying, the financial institutions were enabling fraudsters to commit crimes such as money laundering and terrorism.
Speaking at a regional training workshop for financial and regulatory institutions on the revised Financial Action Task Force recommendations, NFIU Director, Juliet Ibekaku, said her agency had received a report on banks that were complicit and would mete out “appropriate sanctions soon.”
She said punishing the defaulting institutions was the only way to deter errant financial institutions and protect Nigeria’s financial system.
Ibekaku emphasized the need to safeguard Nigeria’s financial system from criminals and ensure it attracted much needed foreign direct investment.
“All hands must be on deck to ensure that the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism, (AML/CFT) programme in Nigeria is evaluated favourably both in terms of policy frameworks and effectiveness.
Effectiveness is now a cardinal principle in FATF mutual evaluation process.
NFIU will continue to render full support for initiatives and programmes designed to enhance best practices and increase capacity in the area of AML/CFT in Nigeria,” she said at the event the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) organised in Lagos.
The event aimed to enhance the capacity of operators in the financial sector so as to strengthen the implementation of AML/CFT regimes in the West African Region and ultimately bridge the observed knowledge gap in the application of the AML/CFT measures by the financial institutions Speaking at the event, Shehu Abdullahi, Director General, GIABA, raised concern that financial institutions in Nigeria and other West African nations were performing poorly with regards to compliance to AML/CFT standards.
He said that this was adversely affecting efforts to tackle money laundering and the financing of terrorism activities in the region.
– CAJ News