The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, says some banks are helping corrupt government officials to operate secret accounts without Bank Verification Numbers. Magu also lamented the non-compliance with regulations on money laundering and other related offences by some banks and financial institutions. The EFCC boss said this on Tuesday at a workshop in Lagos titled ‘Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism’ organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
Magu, who was represented by the Head of Operations, Lagos Zonal office of the EFCC, Garba Dagum, described money laundering as a threat to developing and developed countries. He accused banks of not reporting suspicious transactions in line with statutory regulations. The EFCC boss stated that some bank officials were in the habit of “opening accounts for government officials even after the introduction of the Treasury Single Account, thereby allowing government funds to be diverted.” He added:
“There are several bank accounts that are not linked to BVN and are still active. Some microfinance banks indulge in collecting huge sums of cash for a short fixed term deposit with attractive high interests.”
Magu condemned the activities of some Bureau de Change operators, saying, “Most of them are not licensed and usually do not keep records. You can imagine when $2m cash is given to an unregistered BDC man on the street.”
The EFCC boss, who said the commission had, since the beginning of the year, recorded several convictions for corruption, money laundering, oil pipeline vandalism and related offences, further stated that coordinated national and international steps must be taken to combat the menace of money laundering.
He advocated increased awareness campaigns within the government and private business sector as a counter- measure against money laundering. Magu added:
“Application of penalties, ranging from fines to revocation of licences by regulators, shall send a strong signal to errant banks and other reporting organisations. Regular review of the legal framework to move with time and accommodate new emerging trends of money laundering is key.”