FG To Investigate Suspicious NGOs Over Terrorism, Money Laundering

Federal Government has begun the profiling of Non-Governmental organisations (NGOs) with the intention of deregistering those involved in questionable activities. It was learnt that the measure was aimed at curbing money laundering and terrorist financing.

The profiling activities presently being carried out by the Special Control Unit on Money Laundering (SCUML), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) is in compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendation.

The FATF recommendation requires countries to adopt necessary measures to prevent the use of NGOs for nefarious activities. NFIU’s Director Francis Usani, who broke the news in Abuja yesterday, said the need to profile and review activities of NGOs were informed by the realisation that the groups have become “veritable tools to launder money and finance terrorism”.

Usani said the government was also exploring other options, including sensitising NGOs on their obligations to ensure they do not unwittingly yield themselves to terrorists and other criminals. The NFIU Director spoke at a “regional workshop on the development of effective frameworks and structure to fight terrorist financing/money laundering through non-profit organisations (NPOs)”.

It was organised by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA).“It is obvious that Designated Non-Financial Business or Profession (DNFBP) and particularly NPOs pose a major challenge in our respective Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) culture, and this challenge has been identified in our various national risk assessments.

"There are case studies in Nigeria and in the West African sub-region and globally too, where NPOs have been used as veritable tools to launder money and finance terrorism,” Usani said. He added that the realisation of this fact informed why FATF, under its Recommendation 8, directed that countries should review the adequacy of laws and regulations that relate to NPOs/NGOs that could be abused for the financing of terrorism.

GIABA’s Director General Kimelabalou Aba said the workshop was to educate players in the NPOs and a measure to protect NPOs against abuses because their extended logistical networks, large transitory workforces, cash-intensive nature of operations now make them highly vulnerable to terrorist financing. Mrs. Stella Maduka of the Federal Ministry of Finance blamed the growing unemployment rate globally for the increasing in terrorist activities.
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