SCUML reels out stiff penalties for non-compliance

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As a follow-up to the inaugural sensitization workshop held last year, another 2-Day seminar on “Strategic Partnership among DNFBPs for Effective Implementation of AML/CFT Regime in Nigeria” has taken place at the Unit’s Lagos office conference centre.

The seminar set out to deepen the understanding of AML/CFT objectives of the DNFBPs sector in order to facilitate strategic partnership amongst relevant stakeholders. It was also designed to enhance the AML/CFT campaign and bring the DNFBPs principal partners up-to-date with Nigeria’s AML/CFT regime and strengthen DNFIs capacity to effectively curb money laundering.

And so with an attendance that included high-ranking financial houses officials, hospitality trade leading figures and CSOs it was time for business as the leading resource person for the workshop, Mr. Abimbola Adeseyoju of DataPro Ltd, refreshed our memories by reminding us that “The Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) was established as a specialized unit of the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Industry now the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, by the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria [Decision No. EC (2005) 286] in September 2005.

Mr. Adeseyoju said SCUML has the responsibility to carry out the statutory role of the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment (FMT & I) as spelt out in the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, ML(P)A 2012. Consequently, SCUML has the mandate to monitor, supervise and regulate the activities of all Designated Non Financial Institutions (DNFIs) in Nigeria in consonance with the country’s Anti Money Laundering and Combating of the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.

Asked to shed more light on who and who are the DFNIs, Adeseyoju said, “Section 25 of the ML(P)A 2012, defines DNFIs as: ‘dealers in jewelries, cars and luxury goods, chartered/professional accountants, audit firms, tax consultants, clearing and settlement companies, legal practitioners, supermarkets, casinos and hotels. Others include estate surveyors and valuers, precious stones and metals dealers, trust and company service providers, pool betting and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)’.

The Minister of Trade and Investment or relevant regulatory agency (SCUML) is empowered under the law to classify additional businesses as DNFIs as it is deemed fit for purpose of regulation under the country’s anti-money laundering and combating of the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. Section 5(4) ML(P)A 2012 Act This follows the FATF Recommendations which was domesticated in the Money Laundering Act 2012.”

Continued the erudite resource person: “There is also the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) which is an independent inter-governmental body that develops and promotes policies to protect the global financial system against money laundering, terrorist financing and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It was created in 1989 under EU G8 Group.

It was initially 40+9 recommendations but now has been reviewed to 40. FATF lists countries and territories that are not co-operating in AML policies. And so FATF Recommendations 22 and 23 formed the basis in which SCUML was established. Maybe it will interest you to know that money laundering is 2nd Oldest Profession in the world, 3rd Largest Business and arguably Nigeria’s Biggest Industry.”

Mr. Adeseyoju explained further that “The conversion or transfer of property ( i.e. money, goods, commodities, etc) knowing that such property is derived from a criminal offence, for the purpose of concealing or disguising the illicit origin of the property or of assisting any person who is involved in the commission of such crime to evade the legal consequences of such actions are penalties to be paid under the statues that set up SCUML.”

“Others are “the concealment or disguising of the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement, rights with respect to, or ownership of property knowing that such property is derived from a criminal offence, the acquisition, possession or use of property, knowing at the time of receipt that such property was derived from a criminal offence or from participation in such crime and participation in, association to commit the attempt to commit and the aiding, abetting, facilitating and counselling the commission of such acts.”

“In fact”, he continued, “SCUML combats money laundering among DNFIs through their compliance with Anti-Money Laundering/Combating of Terrorist Financing obligations, including: registration of businesses with SCUML, limitation to make or accept cash payment above N500,000 by an individual or by a corporate body, customer identification/verification (CDD/KYC), other measures include maintenance of register of transactions, preservation of records of transactions, designation of compliance officers, maintaining internal audit control, training their employees, and obligations to report transactions above threshold.”

Itemizing SCUML achievements since inception, Mr. Mathew Enu of EFCC said “Collaboration with other Agencies to remove Nigeria from FATF-NCCT shame-list to pave way for investments and capital transfer, increased number of DNFIs registration, developed risk-based assessment/ranking of DNFIs in order of vulnerability, door-to-door sensitization/inspection of DNFIs in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Lagos and Enugu and Gombe.”

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Article by Seyi Oyebisi

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