Central bank lists measures for anti-money laundering, combating financing of terrorism

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned employees of financial institutions to avoid establishing relationships with individuals or entities who may pose undue reputational risks to their organisations.

The regulator also warned staffers to protect banks’ integrity and fair dealing by ensuring that customers and transactions which financial institutions engage in are legitimate.

These are some of the minimum operating standards for employees of financial institutions which the apex bank released on Friday, urging stakeholders to comply with the AML/CFT laws and regulations to ensure that banks’ products and services are not used for the purpose of Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing or other crimes.

The 37-page manual which deals among others, conduct of financial services, dealings with third party beneficiaries and employee conduct in discharge of their duties, is intended to achieve the objectives of its Anti-Money Laundering, Combating the Financing of Terrorism.

The release of the document is coming simultaneously with allegations by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of illicit financial flows involving ten undisclosed commercial banks.

Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, made the allegation on Friday during a round table meeting with managing directors of financial institutions in Nigeria.

The EFFC 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 financial flows from the country undermine the stability and integrity of the financial institutions,” said Magu.

Magu who spoke on “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” accused banks of aiding customers to receive foreign financial inflows to their accounts in neighbouring countries like Ghana, Republic of Niger and other West African countries where they have branches.

In its new manual, the CBN set out measures, policies and procedures financial institutions must adopt in the anti-money laundering and combating of the financing of terrorism initiative, urging financial system operators to promote sound financial system and ensure that employees conduct business in accordance with applicable Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws and regulations.

The manual which aims to establish procedures and minimum standards to protect the CBN from being used as a channel to launder money, finance terrorism and other forms of financial crimes, advised Banks to supports their staff to achieve the highest standards of compliance and integrity.

“Employees shall fully understand and be guided by these standards in the conduct of business and dealings with stakeholders. Protecting the good name and the reputation of the Bank shall be a primary consideration in all actions taken by employees,” CBN stated.