The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) and Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) have concluded a four-day joint nation-wide training/sensitization programme on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) reporting for Bureaux de Change (BDC) operators.
The training, which has been ongoing since December 11, 2018, focused on the obligation of registering and filling reports on the NFIU goAML -Anti-Money Laundering portal. A session was held on January 5, 2019, in Kano and another session held on January 22, 2019, in Abuja among others.
As part of the NFIU/ABCON partnership, ABCON has taken the train-the-trainers training of the NFIU to the six geopolitical zones of the country in order to strengthen capacity for over 4,000 BDC operators nationwide.
Speaking at the end of the training, ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said the anti-money laundering training is intended to familiarize BDC operators with the process of money laundering — the criminal business used to disguise the true origin and ownership of illegal cash — and the laws that make it a crime.
He said that money laundering and terrorist financing pose not only a threat, but are enormous threats and challenges to the economy, security, and social life in Nigeria, the region and globally.
In a statement by NFIU commending ABCON for the training, Ibrahim Pindar, said: “We wish to congratulate the ABCON on the attendance recorded on the concluded training of BDC operators on the key Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) obligation of registering and filling reports on the goAML -Anti-Money Laundering portal”.
The NFIU advised ABCON to train BDCs regularly so as to cover AML/CFT knowledge-gap identified from most operators and also ensure that their members register on the goAML portal.
NFIU recommended that: “Those trained by the NFIU team should be engaged by ABCON to train their members on a continuous basis. Any change of Compliance Officer should promptly be reported to the NFIU. ABCON should ensure that the operators have alternates for their compliance officers for succession planning and continuity.”
Gwadabe said that the training was also meant to help BDCs maintain a minimum standard of record keeping and increasing level of investors confidence for the economy.
The ABCON and NFIU also advised BDCs to engage services of Designated Compliance Officers to handle all their compliance-related issues.
Gwadabe said the policy on the recruitment of the Designated Compliance Officers by BDCs is already being implemented by ABCON and remains part of the association’s vision to revolutionalise BDC operations in Nigeria for global competitiveness and transparency.
The training, Gwadabe added, will create awareness on the need to check money laundering and terrorist financing in this period of electioneering; ensure that BDCs are not used to launder funds by Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs). It will also upscale BDCs’ compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) for Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria Regulations, 2013.
He said the training will enable BDCs to understand how to raise the Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) to know when to submit such reports. He said these reports are raised by operators on suspicious activities of individuals and are submitted to Financial Intelligence Unit.
He said the training was also meant to increase BDCs participation and awareness on the reporting portal of NFIU which is www.goaml.nfiu.gov.ng. It is also expected to address the low level of skills in the BDCs sub-sector to prepare them for global competition and partnerships.
The ABCON boss said the training is also backed by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and Central Bank of Nigeria (Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism for Banks and Other Financial Institutions in Nigeria) Regulations, 2013.