Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Ibrahim Lamorde has warned Chief Compliance Officers of banks in Nigeria to report suspicious transactions to avoid a situation where bank officials will be arrested in place of the criminals who carry out these transactions.
He gave the charge Thursday January 30, 2014, while presenting a paper entitled, ‘AML/CFT Compliance By Banks: Contemporary Issues In Compliance and Enforcement’, at a meeting of the Committee of Chief Compliance officers of Banks in Nigeria which took place at Colonadese Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
He told the bankers that as Chief Compliance Officers, they are the bridge between the law enforcements, regulatory agencies and the various banks they represent. “Compliance officers must not wait till the bank is invited by the EFCC before they make necessary information available to the Commission or any law enforcement agency, and they must be seen at all times to cooperate with law enforcement agencies”.
Lamorde also charged the compliance officers to check the rising incidence of bank officials tipping off customers under investigation by the Commission.
On the friction in the relations between banks and the law enforcement agencies arising from mutual suspicion, the EFCC helmsman said “It must be understood by banks that the primary target for the law enforcement officer is not the bank, but the criminal who uses the platform of the bank to either commit a crime or to launder the proceeds”. He assured the banks that law enforcement agencies are trying to help them make profit by ensuring that crooks don’t use their platform to perpetrate crimes. He vowed that the EFCC will continue to clamp down on criminals who prey on the gullibility of a sector that believes so much in loyalty to their customers.
Lamorde urged banks to take solace in the fact that they have no legal liability in a civil suit by a customer for complying with the law. He assured that the EFCC was prepared to forge a better working relationship with members of the Committee of Chief Compliance officers of Banks in Nigeria to improve their capacity to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering regulations by reporting all suspicious activities within the banking sector.
Media & Publicity
30th January, 2014
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