Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has disclosed that $15.7billion illicit funds come into Nigeria yearly.
The apex bank has therefore resolved to increase its vigilance to ensure that Nigerian banks are not used as conduits for illicit funds flow, especially in foreign currencies.
This was as a result of a recent report by the Global Financial Integrity group, which ranks Nigeria as one of the 10 largest countries for illicit financial flows in the world.
A statement from CBN revealed that the report estimates illicit funds that go through the Nigerian system annually to be US$15.7 billion.
“According to the apex bank, in the light of this avoidably negative commentary, we wish to draw the public’s attention to several protocols on illicit fund flows, money laundering, and terrorism financing both in Nigeria and around the world”
“We note and applaud that in line with global best practice, Nigerian banks have started to curtail the acceptance of foreign currency cash deposits, much the same way as customers in other countries cannot just walk into banks and make foreign currency cash deposits without
proper documentation.”
CBN however, assured Nigerians, seeking foreign currencies for legitimate personal and/or business interests that windows are open for them within the law. It will be recalled that CBN’s Foreign Exchange Rules have many windows for accessing foreign exchange for legitimate business as well as for personal commitments including payment of medical bills, school fees, mortgages, demand notes and other bills.
CBN also stated that Bureaux de Change, BDC services to small-scale users remain valid as long as it meet genuine needs, and BDCs’ documentations to the CBN include the customer’s Bank Verification Number, BVN.
Although CBN vowed that it will continue to support the Federal Government’s fight against money laundering, corruption, and terrorism financing and will block any and every avenue that may be used for these purposes, it also said it will ensure that persons who venture into currency speculation and currency substitution find it unattractive and dangerous.