The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has sought greater collaboration and partnership with the Association of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria, ACCOBIN, as well as Bureau De Change( BDC) operators as a way of tackling foreign exchange malpractices, money laundering and other fraudulent activities in the nation’s financial sector.
Bawa who made the appeal during a meeting with critical stakeholders in the financial services sector at the Lagos Command of the Commission, on the heels of the recent announcement by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to re-design and re-issue some of Naira notes, called for prompt disclosure of fraudulent activities through the exchange of relevant information about illicit deposits and movement of money through deposit money banks.
“In view of the recent move by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to redesign and re-issue higher denominations of the Nigerian Currency, the Naira, there is a need for us to be proactive and be circumspect of the actions of the criminals who will use the financial institutions to launder illicit funds and commit other nefarious activities.
“It is important for you to understand what this policy is all about, considering the fact that a lot of activities will happen, particularly as the 2023 general elections approach.
“We want to work with you to get more information on how to deal with these issues,” he said.
Bawa, who stressed that the EFCC believes that the financial institutions have an important role to play in ridding Nigeria of financial and economic crimes, also charged the banks’ compliance officers and BDC operators to be wary of activities of criminals who might want use the financial institutions to hoard monies for the purpose of vote buying.
He emphasized the need for financial institutions to take more seriously the issue of Know Your Customer, KYC, and improve intelligence sharing with the Commission.
“The EFCC cannot do the job alone. We need to work with you as critical stakeholders, particularly in ensuring a seamless exchange of relevant information to forestall the commission of economic and financial crimes.
“We need better cooperation, synergy, collaboration, intelligence sharing and, if need be, joint operations with you.
“If there is better management, in terms of communication about the people bringing in monies or the modus operandi being used to disguise this origin of the monies, it will go a long way in tackling the issue of money laundering and financial crimes.
“You are very critical in the fight against economic and financial crimes. This is because at the end of it, money leaves the bank and money goes in, either for deposit or withdrawal,” Bawa said
According to him, “the issue of KYC must go beyond citing utility bills and receipts of customers. This needs to be taken further to forestall cybercrime”.
The EFCC boss also called on the banks to continually develop vetting mechanisms with a view to addressing insider abuse by staff.
In his remarks, Boye Ogunlade, Chairman, ACCOBIN, expressed his satisfaction over the engagement, adding that “this is a good initiative and we hope that it should be held regularly.”