The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has sought the collaboration of the Association of Chief Compliance Officers of Banks in Nigeria, as well as Bureau de Change operators in the fight against foreign exchange malpractices, money laundering and other fraudulent activities in the nation’s financial sector.
He urged them to promptly disclose fraudulent activities about illicit deposits and the movement of money through money deposited in banks.
A statement by the Head, Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, on Wednesday quoted Bawa as stating these during a meeting with critical stakeholders in the financial services sector on Tuesday, at the Lagos command of the commission.
The statement partly read, “In view of the recent move by the Central Bank of Nigeria, to redesign and re-issue higher denominations of the naira, there is a need for us to be pro-active 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.”
The EFCC boss added that financial institutions had an important role to play in ridding Nigeria of financial and economic crimes.
He urged banks’ compliance officers and BDC operators to be wary of the activities of criminals who might want to use the financial institutions to hoard monies for the purpose of vote buying.
Bawa said, “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 the 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.
He advised financial institutions to take seriously the issue of ‘Know Your Customer’, and improve intelligence sharing with the commission.
“The issue of KYC must go beyond citing utility bills and receipts of customers. This needs to be taken further to forestall cybercrime.”