SEC, NFIU to Collaborate to Check Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing

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Thursday, March 5, 2015 7.09PM/SEC

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have pledged stronger collaboration to fight illicit financial flows within the Nigerian capital market.

The Ag. Director General of SEC Mounir Gwarzo, disclosed this when he received the Director of NFIU, Usani Francis in his office in Abuja on Tuesday. He also expressed the Commission’s readiness to work with all relevant Government Agencies and Stakeholders to ensure strict enforcement of all applicable laws against money laundering or financing of terrorism.

Gwarzo said the need for collaboration with all relevant stakeholders has become necessary given the important role the SEC plays in the financial system and the need to effectively police the market and ensure that activities are properly scrutinized to enhance integrity and confidence in the Nigerian Financial System.

According to Gwarzo, “SEC considers compliance to anti-money laundering laws as an important factor in appraising capital market operators. From the onset, having a knowledgeable compliance officer is a prerequisite for registration of a firm that seeks to operate in the Nigerian capital market.

Secondly, the compliance officer must prove during interviews to be very conversant with the anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework”.

Disclosing that the SEC has facilitated training for NFIU officers in the past, the Ag. DG indicated the Commission’s willingness to work with the NFIU to further build capacity through workshops or training exercises for compliance officers. He also noted that the responsibility of a compliance officer goes beyond knowledge of the relevant laws that govern their operations. “It is important that we collaborate to organize workshops for market operators especially the fund managers and the stockbrokers that deal with collection of money on the latest developments in the AML/CFT regime” Gwarzo stated.

Speaking earlier, the Director NFIU, Usani Francis, said since they co-ordinate all the activities that have to do with money laundering and terrorism financing in Nigeria, the Unit is  enjoined to cooperate with all Stakeholder Agencies to carry out its duties effectively.

He said the need to increase the level of collaboration has become necessary given the fact that terrorism can only thrive when the terrorist have access to funds and it has been identified that terrorist now use other sources to move money besides the traditional Financial Institutions.  “Even money laundering, we have identified that they use other sectors of the economy and we see the capital market as a vulnerable sector that they could use to acquire funds for their operations and hence the need for us to collaborate with the SEC to ensure the capital market remains free from money laundering activities” Usani added.

 

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