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CBN adopts strategies to remove Nigeria from money laundering list

By The Citizen
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The Central Bank has adopted measures aimed at removing Nigeria from the list of non- co-operative countries (NCCTs) on money laundering and terrorism financing, ahead of the visit of the Financial Action Task ForceĀ (FATF).

The FATF team is expected to arrive in September to access the country's level of compliance.

To be delisted Nigeria is expected to address non-implementation of procedures, identity issues, freezing of terrorist assets and failure to ensure that customer due diligence requirements apply to all financial transactions.

To fulfil this requirement, the CBN has mandated international travellers to declare funds, or negotiable instruments in excess of $10,000 to the Customs. In a circular to banks signed by its Acting Director, Financial Policy & Regulation, Y.B. Duniya, the CBN said Section 2(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act (MLPA), 2011, (as amended) provides that transportation of cash or negotiable instruments in excess of $10,000, or its equivalent by individuals in or out of the country shall be declared to the Customs.

Also, Section 2 (5) provides that any person who falsely declares or fails to make a declaration to the Customs in line with Section 12 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring & Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004, is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to forfeit the undeclared funds, or negotiable instrument, or imprisonment of not less than two years, or both.

The Act under reference, he said, required the Customs to forward such declarations to the CBN and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He said Section 2(5) of the Act states that false declaration, or failure to declare to the Customs is an offence, adding that forfeiture of the undeclared funds or negotiable instrument occurs upon conviction.

The Committee of Chief Compliance Officers in Nigeria (CCCOBIN) has also advised banks to provide adequate resources and empowerment for their Chief Compliance Officers (CCOs) and other relevant officers to ensure that Nigeria's Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) risks are well managed.

CCCOBIN Chairman, Pattison Boleigha said bank officers involved in driving the implementation of the money laundering laws and regulations must be protected. He said erring staff must be sanctioned.

He said banks were already showing commitment to ensuring that the sector received positive response from FATF during their next review on the country.

Boleigha said banks strengthen their processes and ensure that issues identified by FATF are addressed by their management and staff.