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Egmont May Expel NFIU, Blacklist Nigerian Credit Cards

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Nigerians may no longer be able to carry out international transactions as Egmont Group is considering expelling the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) because of governance issues.

 

TheCable reported that the major consequence of the expulsion will be the blacklisting of Nigeria in international finance.

 

This could affect use of MasterCard and Visa credit and debit cards by Nigerians.

 

It could also affect the international rating of Nigerian financial institutions, restricting their access to some big-ticket international transactions.

 

Nigeria will also no longer be able to benefit from financial intelligence shared by the other member countries, including the US and the UK.

 

Also to be affected is the country’s ability to recover stolen funds abroad.

 

TheCable understands that the expulsion is part of the agenda of Egmont’ working group and heads of FIU meeting between March 2 and March 7, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 

The group, comprising 153 countries, mandates its members to establish a financial intelligence unit that serves as a national centre for the receipt and analysis of (1) suspicious transaction reports; and (2) other information relevant to money laundering, associated predicate offences and financing of terrorism, and for the dissemination of the results of that analysis.

 

All advanced countries are members of the group, which is an initiative of the American government.

 

TheCable reported in July 2017 that the group had suspended Nigeria, citing interference of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the workings of the NFIU.

 

The body had asked Nigeria to amend the law establishing the NFIU to make it autonomous.

 

It also accused the NFIU of failing to protect “confidential information, specifically related to the status of suspicious transaction report (STR) details and information derived from international exchanges”.

 

“The heads of FIU made a decision, by consensus, to suspend the membership status of the NFIU, Nigeria, following repeated failures on the part of the FIU to address concerns regarding the protection of confidential information, specifically related to the status of suspicious transaction report (STR) details and information derived from international exchanges, as well as concerns on the legal basis and clarity of the NFIU’s independence from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The measure will remain in force until immediate corrective actions are implemented,” Egmont group had said at the time.

 

The senate had passed the bill granting the NFIU autonomy few days after TheCable reported its suspension.

 

In December, Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the EFCC, said NFIU had been separated from the EFCC.

 

He said from January 1, 2018, NFIU, would begin to operate as an independent organisation.

 

“We have allowed NFIU to go. They are operationally autonomy independent of EFCC,” he had said.

 

But what Magu said has not been implemented, TheCable learnt.

 

Nigeria’s admittance into the group in 2007 is considered to be one of the biggest achievements of the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

 

The membership ensured the removal of Nigerian banks from the blacklist of international finance.

 

The blacklisting had prevented the banks from engaging in correspondent banking with foreign institutions and also denied Nigerians access to foreign credit cards.


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E-Financial

CBN Investigates 55 Companies over Forex Infractions

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Amidst sustained pressures on Nigeria’s official foreign exchange resources, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has opened investigations into foreign exchange transactions of 55 companies and individuals.

The apex bank linked them to foreign exchange deals outside the official Investors & Exporters (I&E) window.

CBN Investigates 55 Companies over Forex Infractions

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

The I&E window was created by the CBN as the legitimate platform for buying and selling of foreign currencies.

Some of the major corporate organisations in the list include Stallion Nigeria Limited, a conglomerate involved in several sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The list also includes Nigeria’s leading electronic payment company, Interswitch Nigeria Limited, as well as a leading global shipping line, CMA CGM Nigeria Shipping Limited.

Other big names in the list include Petro-Afrique Energy Services Limited, Steel Force Far East Limited, Auto Petroleum Company Limited, Cavendish Mechanicals Limited, Aquashield Oil & Marine Limited, Haitch & Elf Integrated Services Limited, Fenog Nigeria Limited, and Promasidor Nigeria Limited.


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FG Makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

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Federal government on Friday apologised for asking all account holders in financial institutions in the country to re-register their personal details.

FG makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

Recall that the federal government had on Thursday ‎ordered that all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms should complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.

The notice issued by the government to that effect read, ‎“This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures, in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.‎”

The directive raised eyebrows, as account holders already possessed Bank Verification Numbers.

Following widespread condemnation that trailed the directive, the Federal Government backtracked on Friday, saying the fresh guidelin‎e was not for all Nigerians.

The government attributed the development to misinformation.

The clarification issued by the government on Friday read, ‎“We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the notice does not apply to everybody. ‎FIRS will clarify Nigerians on the objectives of the directive.”

Also on Friday, FIRS, in a statement posted on Twitter, explained that the guidelines were only for non-residents, as well as people paying tax in more than one country.

Parts of the FIRS statement read, “The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable Persons, holding accounts in Financial institutions, that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons, who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.”

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during account opening processes, for the KYC and AML purpose.”


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Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

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Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has disowned Tope Olajide, 22-year-old fraudster arraigned for theft of customers deposits.

Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

The Bank said this in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement said: “The attention of the management of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has been drawn to news currently circulating in the media, about the alleged arraignment of staff of the Bank on charges bordering on the theft of customers deposits.

“The Bank would like to clarify that the defendant, a 22-year-old Tope Olajide, IS NOT, and was at no point in time an employee of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.

“The alleged culprit was apprehended around 7:30 am, on Thursday, 27 August 2020, by security operatives after he was exposed by CCTV footage using ATM cards he had allegedly stolen and converted, to make withdrawals from the accounts tied to the stolen ATMs.

“The CCTV footage also showed the alleged culprit pretending to assist customers at ATMs whilst also attempting to fraudulently dispossess the customers of their ATMs.

“He was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate Court on Monday, 14 September, for stealing the debit cards of two customers and using them to unlawfully withdraw the sum of N427,000.

“The Bank would also like to implore members of the public to be security conscious when conducting transactions at ATMs. Customers are advised to report any suspicious actions around them to security operatives who are usually stationed around the Bank’s ATMs, when carrying out transactions at any of our ATM locations.

“As an organisation, we hold dear the values of integrity, and we will continue to prioritise the safety of our customers effectively.”


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