Delegates from the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), agencies, and organisations involved in Nigeria’s fight against money laundering and terrorist financing have called for sustained synergy to define and establish compliance with the AML/CFT regime.
The call was made at a one-day stakeholders’ workshop organised by the Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CFTIW) in Abuja.
The representatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML), the media, and the civil society were present.
The CFTIW convened the meeting to deliberate on how best to navigate and strengthen current efforts to combat corruption, illegal wealth, and terrorism funding against the backdrop of the nation’s blacklisting.
The non-governmental organization complained of the challenges blocking the attainment of prescribed standards set by a global community consensus.
“Participants noted that Nigeria had significant deficiencies in providing collaborative, sustained and inter-agency oversight, as well securing a common definition of designated non-financial institutions,” a communique issued after the meeting read.
Although participants affirmed the multidimensional issues of money laundering and terrorist financing, they agreed that the issues posed serious and consequential risks to Nigeria’s economic survival and security.
“Participants appreciated that these negatives can be a huge inconvenience to international trade and finance, in addition to the loss of the nation’s credibility, decline in global business networks, and the attendant financial hardship,” the communique said.
The attendees called for the scaling up of capacity-building sessions for NBA members and judges to boost their knowledge of the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act.
The workshop tasked agencies involved in the AML/CFT implementation to foster better engagement with partners such as the NBA Anti-Corruption Committee.
“That NBA members consider themselves as being on the same team on AML/CFT matters, establish and strengthen the capacity of anti-corruption units in all branches.
“That parties should cooperate to lobby the National Assembly to pass the relevant law which provides for an electronic whistleblowing portal, and protects whistleblowers.”
“That the success of the AML/CFT Act requires continued capacity-building training involving law enforcement agencies, lawyers and regulatory agencies”, the communique added.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) are applying measures to curb graft, money laundering, terrorist financing within financial, non-financial institutions and other professions.
CFTIW Director, Umar Yakubu, reiterated that Nigeria being an integral member of the global community is bound by preventive actions.
“The support of legal practitioners and the legal community are key in order to foster cooperation between the NBA, the judiciary, anti-corruption agencies, regulators, and civil society groups”, Yakubu said.
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