The first Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Mr Nuhu Ribadu has said several money laundering frauds happen in Nigeria with the active connivance of banks and their workers.
Ribadu who stated this in his keynote address at the Book Launch in Abuja on “Improving Anti-Money Laundering Compliance: Self-protecting Theory and Money Laundering Reporting Officers” noted that the banking system is prone to abuse by corrupt elements.
The book is authored by Dr. Abdullahi Usman Bello of the Abdulbel Consulting.
“Our banking system is prone to abuse by corrupt elements. As investigations reveal every now and then, almost no case of corruption occurs without the involvement of banks and bankers,” he said.
Ribadu in his characteristic frankness posited that the development is not because the country is lacking in laws and regulations, but because Nigeria is lacking in issues with compliance and enforcement.
He said: “We have them in abundance. Even the EFCC Act, for example, amply tackles these issues, we also have the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, the CBN AML/CFT Regulation, 2009 (as amended), among others.
“As is often said, Nigeria is not lacking in laws but the issue is with the compliance and enforcement. It is the same with AML issues. Despite the best efforts of the anticorruption agencies, some audacious and unpatriotic elements still find room to abuse the system, despite the possible consequence”.
He advised banks to identify the risk of money laundering in relation to products, services and customers and assess such risks at every stage, adding that such risks should also be managed whether high, medium or low- risk profiling through reporting, due diligence and monitoring.
He advised the Board and management of banks to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and regulators, not only by the word of mouth but in letter and spirit.
Earlier, the chairman of the occasion and Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele who bought copies of the books for banks and universities in Nigeria said trends in the flow of illicit financial transactions need to be curtailed, adding that dirty money flows are proceeds of corruption and crime which must be combatted.
He said as for the banks of which he superintends, there have been great efforts to support anti-money laundering policies and actions and the development will continue to tackle the menace.
Reviewing the book, former Director General of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), Professor Abdullahi Shehu said that the book provides recommendations on how to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of Anti-Money Laundering Law compliance by introducing the theory, framework and approach for dealing with the concerns of money Laundering Reporting Officers within the banking industry.
Also speaking at the occasion, Ambassador Ibrahim Yerima Abdullahi, recommended the book for policy makers, bankers, legislators and those involved in anti-money laundering campaigns.
Dr Abdullahi Usman Bello, the author of the book, holds a PhD in Anti-Money Laundering Compliance. He is a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA), Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
He was the Deputy Head of Department, Monitoring and Analysis at the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit and the Head of Forensic Accounting and Financial Investigation at the EFCC.
He was also a lecturer at Newcastle Business School, UK and a former banker. He is currently the Managing Consultant at Abdubel Consulting, a Forensic Accounting, Financial Intelligence Analysis and Anti-Money Laundering firm.