THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) have taken the campaign against money laundering and terrorism financing to Bureaux de Change (BDC) operators at the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MM2), Lagos.
Speaking during the sensitisation programme against money laundering and terrorism financing campaign at MM2, which was attended by many BDC operators, EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, called for continuous sensitisation on issues around Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) reporting to improve transparency in BDCs operations. He said the EFCC will continue to campaign for financial integrity and transparency in BDCs’ operations.
Other stakeholders at the event also spoke on the use of BDCs for illicit political transactions, illegal border cash evacuation, reporting of suspicious transactions, fraud accounts transactions and cash dollar deposits on domiciliary accounts.
The stakeholders said the choice of MM2 was apt as it remains a major spot for illegal funds transfer and border cash evacuation.
ABCON President, Aminu Gwadabe, said the BDC sector was considered as the weakest link in the financial system and appealed to the regulators to approve the group’s request for the establishment of the institute’s Training Centre and building capacity of over 4,500 BDC operators for better understanding of the menace of money laundering and terrorism financing.
Gwadabe said the anti-money laundering sensitisation programme was intended to familiarise BDC operators with the process of money laundering – the criminal business used to disguise the true origin and ownership of illegal cash – and the laws that make it a crime.
Gwadabe said that the programme was also meant to help BDCs maintain a minimum standard of record keeping and increasing level of investors confidence for the economy.
He said the group will continue to pursue Nigeria’s admission into the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) due this year.
The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the Ministers of its Member jurisdictions.
The FATF is, therefore, a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
Gwadabe said the sensitisation of BDCs and other capacity building for BDCs will create awareness on the need to check money laundering and terrorist financing in this period of electioneering; ensure that BDCs are not used to launder funds by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs). It will also upscale BDCs’ compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) for Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria Regulations, 2013.
ABCON has for years been an active group in the financial services sector, concentrating more on the BDC segment of the market and ensuring that global best practices are followed in BDCs operations.
The association has on its own, organised training for its members, and also partnered with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the EFCC to build capacity for operators. BDC operators have been trained on how they can help in tackling money laundering, terrorist financing and the benefits of keeping records of their transactions.
The anti-money laundering training that ABCON organised with NFIU in Lagos was meant to familiarize BDCs with the process of money laundering — the criminal business used to disguise the true origin and ownership of illegal cash — and the laws that make it a crime.
The EFCC/ABCON goal is to ensure that BDCs are not used to launder funds by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) especially at this period of electioneering.
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