OVERVIEW OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT ON FATF EVALUATION OF NIGERIA PROJECT
The research on Nigerian laws that are, either directly or indirectly, affecting the ability of our sector to function effectively.
Laws here include: The FATF recommendation 8, Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 (as amended), the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 etc. This formed the basis of the project.
Analysis of laws completed and is now being designed for onward submission to relevant government agencies and publication on the NNNGO website.
Sensitization on FATF and its recommendations amongst civil society
Progress made so far includes:
Weekly Bulk SMS with information on FATF: FATF related bulk SMS are sent to members every Wednesday to arouse their consciousness on FATF related matters.
Monthly E-newsletters focusing on FATF:
So far, we have succeeded in sending e-newsletters to members for the month of January, February, March, April, May, June and July.
January newsletter focused on “Understanding the financial action taskforce”. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) was founded in 1989 on the initiative of the group of seven (G7) summit held in Paris. This intergovernmental organization, which is also known by its French name, Groupe d’action financière (GAFI); was charged with developing policies to combat the growing trend of money laundering and combating the finance of terrorism. The FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.
February newsletter focused on “Recommendation 8 and Not for Profits”. The objective of Recommendation 8 is to ensure that NGOs are not misused by terrorist organisations and, it provides measures NGOs should adopt in combating money laundering and countering terrorism within the sector.
March newsletter focused on “Knowing the agencies of government in charge of money laundering”; this provided information on the global, regional and national agencies that works hand in hand in the battle against money laundering within NGOs and other organizations. Globally, we have the FATF, GIABA (intergovernmental Action Group against Money Laundering) operates regionally, SCUML (Special Control Unit against Money Laundering) operates nationally for NPOs under the watch of NFIU (Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit).
April newsletter focused on “Civil society concerns about FATF Recommendation 8”. This involves the strict adherence requirements and unbending stance on penalties on Civil Society as a result of misinterpretation of FATF recommendation 8 which is gradually stifling civil society.
May newsletter focused on “Laws Guiding the Activities of Non – Profits in Nigeria”. An identified challenge within the Nigerian third sector space is that most Non Profit Organizations (NPOs) are not widely familiar with the laws that govern the sector including government institutions in charge of these laws. Being conscious of these laws and governing bodies will enable NPOs know how and where to address various issues, ranging from registration, auditing, filing annual returns, and tax payment if necessary. The main legal instrument governing NPOs in Nigeria is the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). Also governing NPOs are the Companies Income Tax Act (CITA); Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act; Value-Added Tax Act and Value-Added Tax Amendment Act; Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act; National Planning Commission Act; and Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
July newsletter focused on “The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU)”. It gave an overview its activities, operations and the implementation of its mandate since inception. Also, it highlighted details on the meeting we had with NFIU on the 17th of May 2017.
Three op-eds have been published for the months of February, April and June. Two were published in the PUNCH newspaper.
The op-ed for February is titled “Nonprofits and Regulatory Challenges” – it primarily focused on the need to review the laws and regulations that guide non-profit organizations so that they are not subject to exploitation by terrorist organizations. Nigeria implements R8 through SCUML with directives from NFIU. The new R8 tightens its focus to organizations legitimately at risk rather than the blanket statement on all non-profits being at risk. Countries are therefore called to ensure that responses to at-risk organizations are proportionate, effective and respectful of international human rights laws.
April op-ed titled “For Effective Implementation of FATF Recommendation 8”; it explained the need for countries to review the adequacy of laws and regulations that relate to nonprofit organizations which the country has identified as being vulnerable to terrorist financing abuse. Measures adopted by Nigeria to protect the nonprofit should not discourage or disrupt legitimate charitable activities. Rather, such measures should promote transparency and engender greater confidence in the sector, across the donor community and with the general public, that charitable funds and services reach intended legitimate beneficiaries.
The June op-ed published on our website was titled “Understanding the Role of GIABA”. The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) was established by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government in the year 2000. Generally, GIABA is responsible for strengthening the capacity of member states towards the prevention and control of money laundering and terrorist financing in the region. Apart from member states, GIABA grants Observer Status to African and non-African States, as well as Inter-Governmental Organizations that support its objectives and actions and which have applied for observer status.
This sensitization is as a result of the fact that not many non-profits know about recommendation 8- a regulation intended to protect the nonprofits sector from abuse through terrorist financing, developed by a global regulatory institution called the Financial Action Task Force, this regulatory body has the mandate for combating money laundering and funding of terrorism.
Formation of an informal coalition of civil society organisations interested in working on FATF related issues
Quarterly meeting: Online and face-to-face meeting of coalition members.
This involved drafting a coalition form, invitation of members via e-mail and drafting a concept note for the coalition.
We have succeeded in conducting two online meeting and one face to face meeting.
The first online meeting was held to formally welcome members to the coalition and brief them of the upcoming engagement with the NFIU and SCUML, recognising questions, suggestions and possible way forward.
The second online meeting was held to brief members of the outcome of the meeting with SCUML and NFIU. Also, to explain to members how to register with SCUML without issues.
The face to face meeting was held to interact with members and discuss some issues within the system and on the FATF Recommendation 8.
NNNGO attended three global NPO coalition meetings.
The first meeting was a Global NPO Coalition Pre-Consultative Forum Meeting. It discussed the agenda for the upcoming meeting in Vienna on FATF. Topics to be discussed includes: Global issues, Recommendation 8, training of evaluators, financial inclusion (financial measures of humanitarians worldwide).
The second meeting was a recap of Vienna FATF meeting. The meeting highlighted key conversations held in London and issues surrounding the evaluation processes. It stressed the importance of government engagement with the NPO. Also, issues on how evaluators select NPOs
The third meeting focused on government investigations: how to protect your organization. Nonprofits can be negatively impacted by government investigations whether they are the targets or not. Nonprofits therefore need to know their rights, how to be prepared in case of a visit from law enforcements and how to respond if it does.
5 targeted engagement meetings between NNNGO and the National Risk Assessment Secretariat, National Assembly Committee on Civil Society and other stakeholders including the media
Meeting with SCUML was held on 16th May 2017
The agenda of the meeting was centred on:
Monitoring compliance on AML/CFT and some aspects of the law that needs amendment
To address the complaints and problems of members in registering with SCUML.
Explore areas of collaboration with SCUML to strengthen CSOs.
How we could monitor or improve aspect of the law
FATF recommendation 8 and new interpretative note.
Key takeaways of the meeting include:
The need to raise awareness and compliance with AML/CFT.
The registration site is working well, we need to shrink files to 2MB to upload and follow necessary instructions. Also, a tool kit will be developed on registration and compliance and it will be assessed on SCUML website.
As soon as the NRA report is out, we will be able to assess it on SCUML website
SCUML is ready to work with NNNGO especially in the area of sensitization on anti-money laundering practices.
Meeting with NFIU was held on 17th May
The agenda of the meeting includes:
Information on NFIU report to know if they are planning to engage CSOs in risk assessment.
Engaging the CSOs in evaluation
Working together in new interpretative note not to shrink CSO space
How to work with NFIU to participate in our workshop.
Key takeaway of the meeting includes:
NRA report will be available in 2weeks; we will get the report soon.
NFIU has extended a hand of partnership with NNNGO to make the civil society space more convenient, and will be available for our next workshop.
We have to work around taking NPOs out from the DNFI list.