Nigeria’s increasing focus on trade-based money laundering

Nigeria is intensifying its monitoring of trade-based money laundering (TBML) according to the chairman of the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

Ibrahim Magu has also expressed displeasure with the maximum seven-year term of imprisonment for those found guilty under Nigeria’s Money Laundering Act.

Statistics driven

Speaking at a seminar organised by Lagos State University, Magu said that taking all the statistics into consideration, the commission has intensified its TBML monitoring.

He explained that in 2014, offences involving the diversion of public funds made up 60 per cent of corruption and money laundering cases investigated by the commission.

But since the commission has taken a keener interest in different types of non-financial operations, notably traders, there is an increased emphasis on TBML.

Massive increase

In 2013 alone, the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering registered 16,447 Designated Non-Financial Institutions (DNFIS), a massive increase from the 1,042 registered in 2012.

Prior to 2013, traders that could become DNFIS included only businesses dealing in jewellery, dealers in luxury goods, car dealers and supermarkets.

New war front

Amended legislation brought in during that year broadened the types of trader that could become DNFIS to include dealers in precious stones and metals, importers and dealers in cars or any other automobiles, commercial farmers as well as dealers and importers of farming equipment and machinery.

“The effect has been to open a new front in the war against money laundering activities in the country,” Magu concluded.

He also reckons the punishment for money launderers is too lenient. “I’m not very comfortable with the seven-year imprisonment spelt out in the [Money Laundering] Act. We should have a more severe punishment,” Magu said.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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