CBN Uncovers Illicit Fund Laundering By Banks In Benin Republic

Yemisi Izuora

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has uncovered illegal financial transactions apparently promoted by banks in neighbouring Benin Republic.

The CBN, responding on intelligence report has consequently warned Nigerian banks to be vigilant regarding transactions related to the Benin Republic.

The intelligence report suggests the country is increasingly becoming a drug trafficking transit and consumption hub in West Africa.

This was disclosed in a circular sent to Nigerian banks titled “NEED TO IMPLEMENT ENHANCED MEASURES FOR CUSTOMER ON-BOARDING AND DUE DILIGENCE ON EXISTING ACCOUNTS AND TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO BENIN REPUBLIC”, signed by Asuquo Evelyn E. for the Director Of Banking Supervision.

The apex bank called for additional measures such as re-classify related customers and conducting Enhanced Due Diligence. CBN also asked Nigerian banks to strengthen its Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) policies, as mandated by regulation.
The CBN suggested a shield for Nigeria banks to avoid involvement in illicit transactions saying, “In order to ensure that Nigerian banks are not used as conduit for laundering such illicit funds, it has become imperative to intensify the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) measures in your bank as required by regulation.”

The Bank added “Consequently, you are required to implement additional measures on customers and business relationships linked to Benin Republic. You are also required to re-classify related customers and transactions as high risk and conduct Enhanced Due Diligence (ED) procedures accordingly.”

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