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FAFT TASKS GOVT ON MONEY LAUNDERING

By NBF News
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THE Financial Action Task Force [FATF] has called on Nigeria to address identified grey areas in its fight against money laundering

FAFT is the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT).

Specifically, the global body seeks the country's greater compliance with the AML/CFT standards, to tackle identified jurisdictions that have strategic deficiencies, which could pose risks to the international financial system, Nigeria is one of the countries identified.

For effect, it prescribed counter-measures to protect the international financial system from the on going and substantial money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risks emanating from the jurisdictions.

In a document referred to as 'FATF 40+9 Recommendations of 2003', FATF reaffirmed its call on Nigeria and others to advise their financial institutions to give special attention to transparency in business as a strategic measure to protect their financial sectors from money laundering and financing of terrorism.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has taken steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime, including by enacting AML/CFT legislation and commencing supervision across all sectors.

However, despite the country's high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and GIABA to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, further engagement would be needed to clarify whether these deficiencies have been addressed, including adequately criminalising money laundering and terrorist financing, implementing adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets.

The recommendations were prescribed to more than 180 governments to combat these crimes. The revisions, made with inputs from governments, the private sector, and civil society, provide authorities with a stronger framework to act against criminals and address new threats to the international financial system.

FAFT identified that the cost of money laundering and related crimes has assumed a worrisome, dimension, claiming between two and five percent of global GDP.

The current initiative will enable national authorities to take more effective action against money laundering and terrorist financing at all levels – from the identification of bank customers opening an account through to investigation, prosecution and forfeiture of assets.

At the global level, the FATF will also monitor and take action to promote implementation of the standards.

The revised FATF recommendations now fully integrate counter-terrorist financing measures with anti-money laundering controls, introduce new measures to counter the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and they will better address the laundering of the proceeds of corruption and tax crimes.

They also strengthen the requirements for higher risk situations and allow countries to take a more targeted risk-based approach.

In the words of Giancarlo Del Bufalo, the President of the FATF,   'adoption of the revised recommendations demonstrates countries' shared commitment to fight money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.'

'The revised recommendations include requirements for stronger safeguards in the financial sector, strengthened law enforcement tools  and improved international cooperation.'