The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has flagged-off a nationwide risk assessment of Non-profit Organizations (NPOs).
Speaking on Monday, 15 November, 2021, the anti-graft Commission’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, explained that the programme was a collaborative initiative of the EFCC through the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML, as well as relevant stakeholders in the public and private sectors, and was aimed at determining the vulnerabilities of the organizations to money laundering and terrorism financing.
TheFact Nigeria learnt that, according to a Nigeria National Risk Assessment (NRA) report, 65% of NPOs interviewed receive 50% of their funding from foreign donors, while 35% receive 100% of their funding from domestic donors. It concludes that the practice of foreign agencies or individuals sending money directly to NPOs without being accountable or reporting to any regulatory body is a potential risk for money laundering. The Nigeria NRA further posits that done of the NPOs have become tools for money laundering, either by politically exposed persons (PEPs), or public servants under the guise of contributing for a particular cause or project.
Bawa, while noting the increase in Non-profit Organization activities in Nigeria especially in the North East, where the country is challenged by a humanitarian crisis created by Boko Haram, observed that the absence of a unified comprehensive regulatory and supervisory framework for the sector remains a source of worry for the authorities.
This gap, Bawa stressed, and Nigeria’s performance in the last Mutual Evaluation Exercise where the country received a non-compliant rating in FATF’s Recommendation 8, (that requires a review of the adequacy of laws and regulations that relate to Non- profit Organizations), provides the impetus for the NRA.
The EFCC boss said that the assessment, apart from ensuring proper classification of the NPOs sector in Nigeria to identify NPOs that are at risk of money laundering/terrorist financing abuse, will ensure improved compliance with relevant international, regional and domestic laws/regulations.
He added that it will also help in developing mitigating measures for the “at risk and vulnerable NPOs” operation in Nigeria, while enhancing coordination and collaboration between government regulatory/law agencies and the civic space.
Speaking earlier, the Director, SCUML, Daniel Isei, said the engagement gives the EFCC a robust opportunity to discuss the menace of money laundering and terrorism financing and come up with a comprehensive report to mitigate identified risks.
The Director, International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) Forum, Chiara Crenna, in her remarks, expressed the willingness of INGO in Nigeria to work with SCUML and the EFCC towards the success of the NPO Risk Assessment programme.
Oluseyi Oyebisi, Director of the Nigerian Network of NGOs, also pledged the organization’s support to the programme. He described the programme as the start of an important journey and an example for the rest of Africa, on how regulators and operators can partner in fighting money laundering.