Some commercial banks have been alleged of assisting fraudulent government officials to manage secret accounts without Bank Verification Numbers.
Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu made the disclosure, expressing concern over the disregard of money laundering regulations and the likes by a number of banks and financial institutions.
Magu revealed the fraudulent activity on Tuesday during a workshop in Lagos tagged ‘Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism’ convened by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
Represented by the Head of Operations, Lagos Zonal office of the EFCC, Garba Dagum, The EFCC head said money laundering is a threat to not only developing and advanced nations.
He alleged that banks are not coming forward to disclose dubious transactions in accordance with the statutory regulations.
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The Acting chairman added that several bank officials have formed the practice of “opening accounts for government officials even after the introduction of the Treasury Single Account, thereby allowing government funds to be diverted”.
Magu said, “There are several bank accounts that are not linked to BVN and are still active. Some microfinance banks indulge in collecting huge sums of cash for a short fixed term deposit with attractive high interests.”
The EFCC boss criticised the actions of some Bureau de Change officials, stating “Most of them are not licensed and usually do not keep records. You can imagine when $2m cash is given to an unregistered BDC man on the street.”
Magu noted that the anti-graft agency had recorded several convictions for corruption, money laundering, oil pipeline vandalism and related offences, since January this year.
He consequently added that well strategized national and international measures must be put in place to effectively tackle money laundering.
He called for improved awareness campaigns within the government and private business sectors as a counter- measure to combat the looming threat of money laundering.
Magu said further, “Application of penalties, ranging from fines to revocation of licences by regulators, shall send a strong signal to errant banks and other reporting organisations
“Regular review of the legal framework to move with time and accommodate new emerging trends of money laundering is key.”
Source: Naija News