No fewer than 4,000 Bureau De Change (BDC) operators across the six geopolitical zones of the country have passed through the rigours of trainings on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).
The training, being part of the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) and Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) partnership, was a four-day joint nation-wide training/sensitisation programme on AML/CFT reporting for BDCs.
The training, which has been ongoing since December 11, 2018, was focused on the obligation of registering and filling reports on the NFIU goAML-Anti-Money Laundering portal.
ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said the anti-money laundering training was to familiarise the operators with the process of money laundering — the criminal business used to disguise the true origin and ownership of illegal cash and the laws against it.
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.
But the Head of Compliance, NFIU, Ibrahim Pindar, said: “We wish to congratulate ABCON on the attendance recorded on the training of BDC operators on AML/CFT obligation of registering and filling reports on the goAML-Anti-Money Laundering portal”
He advised ABCON to train BDCs regularly to cover AML/CFT knowledge-gap identified by most operators and also ensure that their members register on the portal.
“Those trained by the NFIU team should be engaged by ABCON to train their members on 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,” he said.
Meanwhile, Gwadabe has said that the training was also meant to help BDCs maintain minimum standard of record keeping and increasing level of investors’ confidence in the economy, advising the operators to henceforth, engage the services of Designated Compliance Officers.
He said the policy on the recruitment of the Designated Compliance Officers is already being implemented by the association and remains part of the vision to revolutionalise BDC operations in Nigeria for global competitiveness and transparency.
The training, he 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 trainings will enable BDCs to understand how to raise the Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) and when to submit such reports.