EFCC Accuses 10 Banks Of Money Laundering

by Collins NWEZE

The acting Chairman of the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu,
yesterday, accused 10 unnamed commercial banks of money laundering.

He also condemned the increasing wave of illicit financial flows and vote buying in the country during elections.

Speaking
in Lagos during a round table meeting with Managing Directors (MDs) of
financial institutions, the EFCC boss said: “It is worrisome to note
that in 2018, statistics available to the EFCC shows that out of about
28 commercial banks in Nigeria, 10 banks evacuated out of Nigeria
through Travelex Nigeria Limited, the sums of GBP £50,832,560; USD
$8,057,756; EURO #39,986,560 and RAND-7,500,000.

“The reasons for
these evacuations are still sketchy. We must note that the impact of
illicit financials flows from the country undermine the stability and
integrity of the financial institutions.”

The EFCC boss expressed
concern, that, the culture of large cash transactions was still being
allowed in some banks, adding that there was no commensurate reporting
of those transactions to the relevant agencies.

According to him,
the banks still operate accounts without Bank Verification Numbers
(BVNs), and have remained complacent in reporting those accounts to the
relevant authorities, or freezing them in accordance with CBN policy.

“The
banks are rather complacent in dealing with crypto-currency or bitcoins
as the case may be and have not taken measures to monitor such
transactions or put adequate surveillance on such accounts. The banks
are observed to still hold customers accounts in their suspense
accounts, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to trace and
have access to those funds,” he observed.

According to him,
intelligence reports have shown, that, banks are aiding their customers
to receive foreign financial inflow to their accounts in neighbouring
countries, where they have branches like Ghana, Republic of Niger and
other West African countries.

“The money is then couriered into Nigeria through the land borders to circumvent declaration and reporting,” he stated.

He
added that banks had the habit of under-reporting transactions in some
cases while carrying out defensive filing of transactions after they had
been consummated.

Describing them as “gatekeepers”, Magu said no
country could control illicit financial flows without the cooperation
of financial institutions.

He, therefore, charged the managing
directors to join hands with the Commission to save the country from
being hijacked by criminals.

Magu, who spoke on the theme: “Roles
and Obligations of Managing Directors of Banks in Nigeria in Curbing
Vote Buying During an Election, Illicit Financial Flows and Other
Related Matters in Nigeria,” recalled that the Governor of Central Bank
of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, during a meeting with Bankers’
Committee, sometime in September 2018, made a commitment to work with
the EFCC and the banks to curb this menace.

He said illicit
financial flows will reduce the amount of resources available to the
government to provide critical social services to the citizenry.

Speaking
on vote buying during elections, Magu asserted that it would prevent
credible candidates from running for political offices.

He said:
“in Nigeria, vote buying has reached an alarming proportion, to the
extent that politicians have now spread their tentacles to election
officials, security agencies, election observers and even the media.”

Source:- Thenationonlineng