By Michael Eboh
The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Wednesday, signed an agreement with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, to eliminate suspicious transactions from the Nigerian capital market.
In a statement in Abuja, Acting Director General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, said the collaboration was necessary in order to close ranks in the face of insider dealings, re-awakening of Ponzi schemes, cybercrime and other fraudulent activities that have engulfed the market in the last few years.
Uduk, noted that the Commission was paying close attention to digital transactions and was in the process of amending its rules to capture such transactions.
The Acting DG disclosed that the Commission already has regulations that prohibits shell companies from operating in the capital market and implored the NFIU to assist with solutions to track suspicious transactions as they occur.
“If we have solutions that will help us track transactions, it will reduce incidence of insider dealing greatly. We would be very willing to collaborate with you on that in our determination to ensure that our markets are efficient and transparent and all investors are protected,” Uduk said.
According to Uduk, some areas where the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU seeks Cooperation of both Agencies includes training, secondment of middle cadre officers between both organisations, cross boarder monitoring, repatriation of stolen funds from the capital market and prosecution of offenders amongst others.
On the rising spate of Ponzi schemes in the country, Uduk stressed the need for more collaboration between both organisations and further sensitization to ensure unsuspecting Nigerians do not continue to lose their hard earned money.
Also speaking, Director of NFIU, Mr. Modibbo Tukur, commended the SEC for the relationship that has existed between both organisations and assured that the NFIU would continue to play its part in ensuring that the financial system is safe for Nigerians to operate.
To this end, Tukur disclosed that the NFIU is making efforts to ensure that the financial system is rid of shell companies adding that for companies to exist, they should have physical addresses.
He said, “If anyone establishes a company, it has to be a company indeed and we have to be firm on this. This has become more important now given the roll out of the ECOWAS single currency, because with that, we know that capital and investments will move across borders and it is a single currency. So we have to step up regulation to avoid fraudulent transactions.
“We will commence by September and some companies would have to be deregistered if they do not meet the criteria. We will publish the parameters and also give them enough time to regularise after which those that do not comply before the deadline will be shut down. If you have an empty company hanging in the system, it is a potential danger and we should not allow it to thrive.”
Tukur stated that by the time the NFIU commences the due diligence on the shell companies, the information will be shared with the SEC for their further action and commended the SEC on its regulation that does not presently allow shell companies to operate in the capital market.
“Analysis would now be digital so the organisation would be able to share information on transactions as fast as possible adding that the capital market being a very sensitive one, care has to be taken on information dissemination to avoid disruptions” he added.