By BABJIDE KOMOLAFE
Global anti-money laundering body, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) will visit Nigeria in September to investigate the effectiveness of the implementation of the nation’s anti-money laundering laws and regulation.
Presently, Nigeria is on the FATF list of countries that had not made significant progress in their anti-money laundering/counter terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regime. The outcome of the investigation would decide the continued inclusion of the country in the list.
While in the country, FATF would randomly select institutions and organisations in the public and private sector, to ascertain their level of compliance to anti-money laundering laws.
As part of preparations for the visit of the global body and ensure Nigeria gets a favourable result, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a circular to banks and financial institutions last week, on preparatory measures for the investigation. The circular was signed by Acting Director, Financial Policy and Regulation department, Mr. Nwaoha I.T.
The circular said, “You will recall that in 2009, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) placed Nigeria among the grey list countries that had not made significant progress in their AML/CFT regime and the country has been working assiduously to exit from this unenviable group. It was, however, acknowledged at the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundry in West Africa (GlABA) Plenary meetings held in Ghana in May, 2013 and FATF Public Statement in June, 2013 that Nigeria had largely addressed its action plan and improved its overall supervisory AML/CFT framework.
“The International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) of FATF has, however, scheduled to conduct an on-site visit to Nigeria early September, 2013 to confirm that the processes of implementing the required reforms and actions are underway to address previously identified deficiencies.
“The proposed visit by ICRG is to afford the Group the opportunity to determine the effectiveness of the country’s implementation of its laws and regulations as well as compliance with international best practice.
The ICRG will also evaluate both the public and private sector institutions’ implementation frameworks. A favorable report on the country’s AML/CFT regime will enhance its chances of exiting the FATF grey list. To this end, the CBN implores all relevant stake-holders to adequately prepare for the exercise.