Anti Money Laundering (AML) in Nigeria
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Money laundering in Nigeria remains a widespread problem, despite the fact that the country has taken a number of steps to improve its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) system. Initially, Nigerian criminals made advance fee fraud infamous; more recently, nationals of many African countries and from a variety of countries around the world have begun to perpetrate advance fee fraud. This type of fraud is referred to internationally as "Four-One-Nine" fraud (419 is a reference to the fraud section in Nigeria’s criminal code). While there are many variations, the main goal of 419 fraud is to deceive victims into payment of an advance fee by persuading them that they will receive a very large benefit in return. These "get rich quick" schemes have ended for some victims in monetary losses, kidnapping, or murder. Through the Internet, businesses and individuals around the world have been and continue to be targeted by perpetrators of 419 scams. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has tried to combat 419-related cyber crimes, but there have only been a few recorded successes as a result of their cyber crime initiatives.
In December 2002, after placement on the NCCT list and under threat of a FATF recommendation for countermeasures, Nigeria enacted three pieces of legislation: an amendment to the 1995 Money Laundering Act that extends the scope of the law to cover the proceeds of all crimes; an amendment to the 1991 Banking and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Act that expands coverage of the law to stock brokerage firms and foreign currency exchange facilities, gives the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) greater power to deny bank licenses, and allows the CBN to freeze suspicious accounts; and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act that establishes the EFCC, coordinates Anti Money Laundering (AML) investigations and information sharing. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act also criminalizes the financing of terrorism and participation in terrorism. Violation of the Act carries a penalty of up to life imprisonment. Based on this legislation, FATF decided not to recommend countermeasures against Nigeria; however, Nigeria remains on the NCCT list.
The Money Laundering and Prohibition Act was enacted in 2004, but was appealed by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011.
The Economy of Nigeria
Nigeria is classified as an emerging market and is rapidly approaching middle income status, with its abundant supply of resources, well-developed financial, legal, communications, and transport sectors and stock exchange (the Nigerian Stock Exchange), which is the second largest in Africa.
Nigeria is the United States' largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa and supplies a fifth of its oil (11% of oil imports). It has the seventh-largest trade surplus with the U.S. of any country worldwide. Nigeria is currently the 50th-largest export market for U.S. goods and the 14th-largest exporter of goods to the U.S. The United States is Nigeria’s largest foreign investor.
Banking in Nigeria
The Central Bank of Nigeria is Nigeria’s central bank. The central bank also serves as the banking regulator in Nigeria.
The central bank issues legal tender and maintains the external reserves of Nigeria. It promotes monetary stability and a sound financial environment. The central bank also serves as the financial adviser to the federal government.
The currency of Nigeria is the naira. The Central Bank is the only issuer of naira. It is available in banknotes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. Coins are issued in denominations of 1 and 2 naira and 50 kobo.
Other Key Statistic of Nigeria
Time Zone: WAT (UTC+1).
Location: Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon.
Population: 174,507,539 (2014 estimate.)
Languages Spoken: English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fula.