By Providence Emmanuel
MICROFINANCE banks’ operators have commended the new Anti Money Laundering/Counter Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) sanction regime saying it will enhance public confidence in the banking system.
Two weeks ago, the CBN rolled out a new AML/CFT sanction regime which stipulates fines against banks, their directors and other key officials for money laundering infractions.
According to the CBN, failure to establish written AML/CFT policies and procedures would attract a minimum penalty of N300, 000 from a Unit, N500, 000 for State and N1 million for National MfBs. Failure to communicate AML/CFT programme of the organisation to employee, a minimum penalty on the chief compliance officer N100, 000 for Unit, N300,000 for State and N500,000 for National MfBs respectively. Commenting on this development, MfB operators said that sanctions stipulated in the new regime will help to check the activities of MfB officials, and ultimately boost public confidence.
Speaking to Financial Vanguard, Executive Director, Operations, Addosser Microfinance Bank Limited, Mr. Fabiyi Adebayo said: “Sanctions, generally, should not be seen as punitive measures but as ways of keeping the players in check and ensuring that they play by the rules, which gives confidence to both the regulator and the public. I would welcome the new anti-money laundering sanction regime.
“If you look at terrorism and other issues affecting not only the country, but the world at large, we may be prone to illicit laundering of money. With anti money laundering, we have to keep sanitizing the system not only for the benefit of the stakeholders but for the entire system. Terrorism is a big challenge right now. Whatever the regulators can do to ensure that the banking subsector is insulated and protected from the proceeds of illicit funds should be welcomed by every reasonable player in the business.”
Also speaking to Financial Vanguard, Managing Director, Boctrust MfB Limited, Mr. Babajide Okusaga, stated: “I am happy because before, they usually sanction the bank forgetting that there is an officer that is responsible. There is software that can do most of these things, with a click of the button you can see anybody that gives above one million and there is Know Your Customer (KYC).”
“I am happy that it is not just the bank that would be sanctioned but the Managing Director, Board members and the Risk Officer. It is part of the risk control and compliance. It is a welcome development and not something we should bother our head about. We should do what is right not because CBN has placed a sanction but because we want to protect our business, shareholders’ money and depositors in return,” Okusaga said.