- Financial institutions have been warned to avoid laundering illicit funds for corrupt politicians
- According to the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, the inducement of voters attracts a 12-month imprisonment or a fine of N100,000
- Magu, however, urged association of compliance officers to serve as responsible gatekeepers by reporting suspicious transactions
The acting chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu on Thursday, January 31, warned Nigeria's banks not to collude with politicians who are repatriating stolen funds for the forthcoming general elections.
Reports by The Nation claimed that Magu who gave the warning in Lagos at a session with the association of compliance officers urged bankers to stop laundering funds for politicians.
He said the anti-graft commission had received an intelligence report on how a top politician sold a property abroad to finance elections at home.
The EFCC chairman spoke on the “desperate” methods being employed by some politicians to repatriate illicit funds into the country.
According to him, foreign properties bought with proceeds of crime are sold and the proceeds are transferred to Nigeria through international banks as legitimate funds that can be used for financing the coming elections and other activities.
”Recently, we received intelligence report from a sister agency in another country informing us of a top Nigerian politician who has sold his property in that country and intends to repatriate the proceeds of the sale of the property to Nigeria. This same individual had earlier denied ownership of the said property.
“Goods bought with proceeds of crime abroad are sent to Nigeria to support empowerment programmes during elections. The goods are mostly cleared with deficient trade documents processed through the international banks.
“Moving proceeds of crime earlier taken across border to neighbouring countries back to Nigeria by depositing such funds in banks with corresponding banking relationship with local banks in Nigeria…These funds can be used to finance elections in the country by physical distribution of the funds for political inducement or financing empowerment schemes to solicit votes from citizens.
“Private bankers for international banks facilitate the movement of proceeds of crime i.e. physical movements of cash to the country via chartered airlines in the guise of the bank.”
Magu said the inducement of voters attracts a 12-month imprisonment or a fine of N100,000.
The EFCC chairman pleaded with compliance officers to serve as responsible gatekeepers by reporting suspicious transactions.
He said: “While vote buying is subject to punishment, the attainment of compliance to this legal obligation remains the challenge and it is our responsibility to prevent these crimes.
“We have come to realise that political inducement has now taken other forms and tagged in different names, i.e. stomach infrastructure, empowerment schemes, non-interest yielding loans, outright cash handouts etc.
Meanwhile, Legit.ng had reported that Ibrahim Magu, cautioned Bureau de Change operators in the country against aiding corrupt practices of some politicians.
Magu made this known at a meeting with the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday, November 15.
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