Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have started to deregister all ‘faceless’ briefcase firms without physical location from operating in the country.
They disclosed that the move was to track fraudulent people masquerading as businessmen with the sole aim of swindling unsuspecting members of the public and financial institutions.
Chief Executive Officer of NFIU, Modibbo Tukur, gave the hint when he led his management team to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SEC at the latter’s corporate headquarters in Abuja. He stated that the MoU was aimed at deepening cooperation in assisting the NFIU to identify such itinerant operators in the nation’s capital market.
To underscore the necessity of the operation, Tukur declared that the menace of scammers had become unbearable, saying that the NFIU was on the trail of one of such operators who obtained an N40 billion credit from a bank, repaid only N4 billion before he disappeared.
He commended SEC for the relationship between both organizations and assured that the NFIU would continue to play its part in ensuring that the nation’s financial system was safe for citizens. Tukur added that NFIU was making efforts to rid the financial system of shell companies, stressing that genuine companies needed verifiable physical addresses to operate from.
Responding, Acting Director-General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, expressed delight over the collaboration, saying it was necessary to close ranks in the face of insider dealings, re-awakening of Ponzi schemes, cybercrime and other fraudulent activities that overwhelmed the market in the last few years.
Uduk said the commission was paying close attention to digital transactions, just as it was in the process of amending its rules to capture such transactions. She disclosed that SEC already had regulations prohibiting shell companies from operating in the capital market and appealed to NFIU to assist with solutions to track suspicious transactions as they occur.
“If we have solutions that will help us track transactions, it will reduce the incidences of insider dealings greatly. “We would be willing to collaborate with you on that in our determination to ensure that our markets are efficient and transparent, and all investors are protected,” Uduk added.