The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has called on the media to be familiar with the new Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022 so as not to run foul of its provisions.
Giving the charge on Tuesday, October 25, 2022 in Lagos while declaring open a one-day workshop on Financial Crimes Reporting organised by the Commission, Bawa also emphasized the need for the media to continuously educate the citizenry on the new Money Laundering Act.
TheFact Daily reports that Bawa, who spoke through the Lagos Zonal Commander of EFCC, Ahmed Ghali, said there were certain provisions of this new law he believed would affect the journalists directly or indirectly, one of which is secrecy of financial transactions.
“The new law criminalizes the operation of numbered accounts and also mandates financial institutions to ascertain the beneficial owners of accounts before opening such accounts.
“There is a more robust requirement for due diligence and reporting obligation by financial institutions and non-financial business and professions to the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering, SCUML”, he said.
The EFCC Chairman, while describing the roles of the media as remarkable in projecting the work of the EFCC in the past 19 years, also sought greater collaboration and better information sharing between the media and the Commission..
“Many of you have played commendable roles in bringing the efforts of the Commission at combating corruption and economic and financial crimes to the front burner and improving public consciousness about the ills of financial crimes. We can only ask for more support, while also urging you to do your work with utmost sense of responsibility”, Bawa said.
He further expressed the progress recorded by the Commission in the area of convictions, and revealed that it had secured 2,701 convictions as at October 7, 2022, “in addition to recovering assets running into billions of Naira.”
He, however, said, the Commission was not resting on its oars in spite of the conviction secured so far within the year, and expressed belief that “more needs to be done to deter citizens from getting involved in financial crimes and discouraging the theft of public resources.
“We believe that some of these crimes could be prevented if the members of the public have the right information. It is for this reason we are intensifying our public enlightenment engagements which, in a few weeks’ time, will witness the formal launch of the EFCC Radio”, he added.
Bawa restated the determination of the Commission to tackle financial crimes in the nation’s electoral process, and cited the recent arraignment of persons arrested for inducing voters during the Osun governorship election, which should send a message to those bent on corrupting the electoral process that the consequences would be dire.