Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps NSCDC has established a financial crimes department to track terror financing in the country.
Commandant General of the Corps, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja at the opening of a two-day training on money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation of fire arms for NSCDC investigators and prosecutors drawn from across the country.
“As part of our commitment to this national project, I have approved the setting up of a full pledged department called Financial Crimes Department with the independent mandates of handling all cases, including investigations, transfer or prosecution, of all Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing, Proliferation Financing and other sundry financial crimes. This is expected to be replicated in all our Zones, Commands and Formations”, he stated.
He said the training would also mark a paradigm shift in NSCDC’s investigation activities from focusing only on predicate offences of oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, illegal mining to trailing the proceeds of these crimes.
“This capacity development workshop is further aimed at implementing part of the Mutual Evaluation Report recommended actions which would not only ensure Nigeria’s successful exit from the ICRG/GIABA’s Enhanced follow up process but pave way for the eventual membership of Nigeria into the Financial Action Taskforce (FATAF). This is a task that must be achieved. All hands must therefore be on deck to ensure that such dream is realised
“The Crime of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing is an organized crime which may be nurtured by the proceeds of illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism. Therefore, this training programme is an avenue for our investigators and prosecutors to broaden the horizon of their knowledge and expand the scope of their investigation activities to include tracking down movements of proceeds of these crimes by thorough profiling of the suspects and their financial dealings.
“This will assist in establishing whether funds realized from vandalism is laundered or used in financing terrorism”, he added.
On his part, Director General of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit NFIU, Alhaji Modibbo Haman Tukur noted that Nigeria’s reputation in the comity of nations has now improves tremendously following the renewed onslaught on financial crimes and terror financing.
“The United States Government told me that the global image of Nigeria has improved greatly and we have to keep doing our best.
“If you have money laundering deficiencies in your global report, it will affect your borrowing plans negatively. Where you are asked to pay 15 percent interest, another country without such deficiency would be given loans at two percent interest rate.
“If the criminal justice system was a hospital, the money laundering area would be the laboratory. It is a complex system also involving law enforcement and the Judiciary.
“The information that we gather and give you, we don’t need them. We only process them for agencies. We don’t prosecute or make arrest. We only give you actionable intelligence to day we are suspecting this person. We are happy that the state commandants are here to learn the basic principles so that when there is a money laundering trigger in your area, you will be able to understand and act swiftly”.
Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa who was represented by the agency’s Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Tukur assured of the readiness of the EFCC to continuously collaborate with the NSCDC in the fight against financial crimes.
How views were re-echoed by the Secretary, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission ICPC, Prof. Musa Abubakar, urged participants to exhaustively study the Proceeds of Crimes Act POCA 2022.
NSCDC Head of Interministerial Committee on Money Laundering, Terrorism and Proliferation Financing, Commandant Remi Ekundayo said the Corps with the support of the Ministry of Interior and partner agencies, has been working tirelessly not only to improve Nigeria’s rating in the next Mutual Evaluation Exercise but to ensure that the country successfully exits the FATAF/GIAB Enhanced Follow Up Process with the one year observation period in mind.
“To this end, the Commandant General has approved the establishment of a Central Data Base for storing and sharing of intelligence on Money Laundering, Terrorism and Proliferation Financing . The is one of the deficiencies identified in the Mutual Evaluation Report”, she stated.