COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 3RD ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING CONFERENCE TITLED “EXPLORING NEW FRONTIERS IN NIGERIA’S ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING REGIME THROUGH EFFECTIVE USE OF DATA” ORGANISED BY CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) AT BON STRATTON HOTEL, ABUJA ON THE 12 &13TH OF FEBRUARY, 2020.

 

 

Preamble:

 

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) representing Transparency International in Nigeria organized on the 12-13th of February, 2020 an Anti-Money Laundering Conference in Abuja, Nigeria to initiate discussions around the effective use of big data and other innovative approaches to enhance the anti-money laundering regime in Nigeria. This is coming against the backdrop of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) 2018 report, which highlights a chasm in the number of Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs), the cases filed and number of convictions secured on anti-money laundering charges. Whereas Nigeria contributes with over 17 billion USD to the largest share of illicit financial flows in Africa, suspicious financial transactions are increasingly detected but not adequately investigated. Money launderers and their enablers in and outside of Nigeria trade with impunity and without consequences.

After deliberating on various thematic issues, the following observations and recommendations were made:

 

Observations:

 

  • Money laundering is a process that is complex and complicated. However, it causes enormous economic damage and is a major impediment to attain the SDGs and other Nigerian socio-economic targets;
  • The Bureau de Change operators are crucial in reporting formal and informal cash transactions, including diaspora remittances, which account for large financial inflow to Nigeria. Nigeria Central Bank and other dedicated institutions are urgently required to regulate the sector;
  • The quality of Suspicious Transactions Reports (STRs) is important. STRs have to be actionable at the reporting stage. Financial and non-financial institutions have to report STRs and be held accountable towards compliance as required by FATF;
  • Despite rapid improvement in reported suspicious transactions, the rate of prosecution, conviction and asset confiscation on money laundering charges is disappointing in Nigeria and in Africa;
  • It is important for Nigerian and African Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs) to begin to transit from manual to digital technology to fight money laundering effectively;
  • Within the period covered by the report, pre-election and election years had the highest number of STRs. The nexus between money laundering and political parties’ corruption is undisputable;
  • Availability of reliable data is critical for effective anti-money laundering measures;
  • Relevant public and private organizations should measure their business practices against international bench marks as set by Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other global standard setters;
  • Digitalization makes AML implementation more efficient and more result oriented;
  • There is need to widen the Designated Non-Financial Institutions (DNFIs) list. Money laundering can be committed in any sector including informal economy dominating Nigerian/African economic reality;
  • Every citizen should be registered and have the national identity number at birth to serve as a baseline data for citizens’ identification and compliance tracking;
  • Constituency projects are funded by government to bring development to constituencies but facilitated by lawmakers.Therefore, local communities must own and safeguard their constituency projects. Stakeholders should demand consultation when constituency projects are being initiated.

 

Recommendations:

 

  • There should be improved national cooperation and coordination among both state and non-state actors in fighting money laundering;
  • The National Assembly shall prioritize the passage of all pending bills that will catalyze the anti-money laundering campaign.  The President should expatiate the enactment of crucial legislation without delays;
  • The Central Bank of Nigeria must improve its financial and regulatory oversight in combating money laundering and corruption through banks;
  • The conversion of usable information into credible intelligence should be improved by the anti-corruption agencies. The rate of investigations, convictions and asset confiscation on credible AML evidence must be improved and made public;
  • The chain of the Criminal Justice system (detection, investigation, prosecution and conviction) should be improved upon by relevant agencies, especially the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Nigeria Police Force/ Interpol and Defence Intelligence;
  • The Presidency, as a matter of urgency, should change the Companies and Allied Matters Act legislation as the previous one was not assented to by the president. This will facilitate establishment of a Beneficial Ownership register accessible to the public by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC);
  • Declaration of assets owned by senior officials and Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) as required by the Code of Conduct Act must be enhanced, data made public and suspicious wealth investigated by the law enforcement;
  • There should be promotion of transparency and the involvement of civil society groups and citizens’ participation in the utilization and management of confiscated and seized assets;
  • The National Assembly must assert greater supervision and control over the financial institutions and their oversight institutions, including the anti-corruption agencies, to investigate and to reduce the volume of illicit financial flows and their damage to the national development.

 

Signed:

 

  1. Independent Corrupt practices and other related offences Commission
  2. Corporate Affairs Commission
  3. National Drug Law Enforcement Agency
  4. Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML)
  5. Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU)
  6. Code of Conduct Bureau
  7. Inter-Governmental Group against Money Laundering in West Africa.
  8. Securities and Exchange Commission
  9. Center for Democracy and Development
  10. Society for Women and Girls Empowerment
  11. Publish What you pay Nigeria
  12. DataPro
  13. Compliance Institute
  14. Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria
  15. African Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANNEJ)
  16. Trade Network Initiative
  17. BudgIT
  18. Zero Corruption Coalition
  19. Social Action
  20. Spaces for Change
  21. Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)/ Transparency International

 

 

In Abuja, on the 13th of February, 2020

 

 

2020-02-28T10:03:54+00:00February 28th, 2020|Categories: Communiques|0 Comments

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