Professional bodies in the country have said that they do not, in any way facilitate illicit financial flows, either in nor outside the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last week in Paris, assured that the federal government is determined to win the fight against corruption.
The President therefore, told the world leaders at the opening ceremony of the Peace Forum holding on the sidelines of the centenary celebration of Armistice Day in Paris, that Nigeria has strengthened its laws and institutions to fight corruption, fast-track recovery of stolen assets and punish offenders thereby calling for a renewed commitment from governments and international institutions. Buhari said “We must crack down on safe havens for corrupt assets. I also advocate sanctions by professional bodies against transactional middlemen (lawyers, bankers, brokers, public officials, etc.) who facilitate illicit financial flows,” he said
But the vice chairman of Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), Mr. Akinsola Akeredolu-Ale said that its body has regulators regulating capital inflows and outflows in the Nigerian capital market.
He added that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has done quite of capacity building and trainings on anti-money laundering processes.
According to him, “We file our weekly transaction with SEC and Finance and Intelligent Unit (FIU) and for transactions above a particular amount and inflows for about a particular amount is being made known. This fillings at the end of the day makes it easier for the regulators to be able to monitor inflows of funds from various position and outflow of funds from various clients”.
Akeredolu-Ale stated that the issue of identity management is now at the forefront of the stockbroking firms and at the bottom of identity management is the issue of BVN and this has assisted stockbroking firms a lot to be able to build up their KYC (Know Your Customer) documentation better.
“Before we register any individual as an investor, we follow the KYC requirement and comply with the requirement needed. We file with the regulators, CSCS and also with other institution that required the BVN and the KYC. From the KYC, it makes it easy for people not to duplicate their names, accounts and funding with us, because BVN will show it is the same persons”, he added.
He stated that effectively in the last 10 to 15 years, the capital market is actually a very unsafe zone for anybody to carry out money laundering activities, saying that the market is free from any money laundering activities.
In sensitizing the financial market against money laundering to global best practice, he said educating the public about the danger of the money laundering activities, instilling structures and institutions that can detect people that are engaged in the activities.
He added that the structures and the institutions are there in the country, calling to the judicial system to make sure that money laundering activities are persecuted legally.
On his own part, President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Professor Uche Olowu said that most professionals would not want to dabble into unethical issues such as “money laundering especially bankers.
At CIBN what we do is to tighten corporate governance code for our members and we ensure that all our members take ethics courses.
Olowo said “We ensure that they meet all standards as pertaining to professionalism and ethics. Maybe the government have their facts, but I do not know any professional that was to aid money laundering. Professionals always strive to do things the right way.
“But then in any 12 there must be a Judas so at CIBN we have zero tolerance for any unprofessional conduct and anyone found guilty is dealt with. We have different mechanism to ensure that our members fall in line and do things the right way”, he added.
Corroborating Akeredolu-Ale views, a banker said that it is now difficult for middlemen to get involved in illicit financial flows because of the introduction of BVN.
The banker who does not want his name mentioned said the Bank Verification Number (BVN) was a platform designed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for bank customers to harmonize accounts on a single platform.
With BVN, he said there is always an interface between the commercial banks and the CBN to curb money laundering and excess accounts by launderers to check mate the practice of financial crimes.
“I must tell you. The BVN has come to create a platform for checks and balances within the banking sector. It is a very good step that the government has taken”.