The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it is stepping up efforts to fight money laundering in the country.
The Apex bank, said though there are concerns about such dealings which is unknown to it but the bank will investigate reports about such cases.
A statement from the bank and signed by Ibrahim Mu’azu, Director, Corporate Communications, the CBN notes with concern a recent report by the Global Financial Integrity group, which ranked Nigeria as one of the ten largest countries for illicit financial flows in the world.
According to the bank, although we do not have an independent confirmation of this assertion, the report estimates that about US$15.7 billion of illicit funds go through our system annually.
In the light of this avoidably negative commentary, we wish to draw the public’s attention to several protocols on illicit fund flows, money laundering, and terrorism financing both in Nigeria and around the world, and warn that the CBN will increase its vigilance to ensure that Nigerian banks are not used as conduits for illicit fund flows, especially in foreign currencies.
We note and applaud that in line with global best practice, Nigerian banks have started to curtail the acceptance of foreign currency cash deposits, much the same way as customers in other countries cannot just walk into banks and make foreign currency cash deposits without proper documentation.
We wish to assure all citizens seeking foreign currencies for legitimate personal and/or business interests that there remains ample opportunity to do so within the law.
The statement said that CBN’s Foreign Exchange Rules offers many windows for accessing foreign exchange for legitimate business as well as for personal commitments including payment of medical bills, school fees, mortgages, demand notes and other bills.
It said that the Bureaux de Change (BDC)services to small-scale users remain valid as long as this is to meet genuine needs, and BDCs’ documentations to the CBN include the customer’s Bank Verification Number (BVN).
“The CBN will continue to support the Federal Government’s fight against money laundering, corruption, and terrorism financing and will block any and every avenue that may be used for these purposes.
We will also ensure that persons who venture into currency speculation and currency substitution find it unattractive and dangerous.
In these efforts, therefore, we seek the continued cooperation of all Nigerians to make this work for the enhancement of our shared progress, rather than the prosperity of a greedy few amongst us” the bank added.