Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), says some commercial banks help politicians perfect their vote buying plans for the coming elections.

Magu said this at a meeting with managing directors of financial institutions in Nigeria, held in Lagos, on Friday.

He said illicit financial flow is on the increase in the country.

Magu also condemned the act of vote buying by politicians, stating that it would keep the right candidates from getting elected.

He said: “In Nigeria, vote buying has reached an alarming proportion to the extent that politicians have now spread their tentacles to election officials, security agencies, election observers and even the media.

“Politicians were still perpetrating and trying to finalise their acts of vote buying.

“It is also worthy of note that illicit financial flows during election are a common denominator and can be tied to vote buying. Politicians either bring in money to further their cause or try to export money to their cohorts outside the country to get them to influence the elections in one way or the other."

“It is worrisome to note that in 2018, statistics available to the EFCC shows that out of about 28 commercial banks in Nigeria, 10 banks evacuated out of Nigeria through Travelex Nigeria Limited the sums of GBP- 50,832,560; USD-8,057,756; EURO-39,986,560 and RAND-7,500,000. The reasons for these evacuations are still sketchy. We must note that the impact of illicit financials flows from the country undermine the stability and integrity of the financial institutions.”

The EFCC boss lamented supposed large cash transactions still being carried out in some banks without proper recording and reporting being done.

He also said the banks allow customers operate without having the Bank Verification Number (BVN).

“The banks are rather complacent in dealing with crypto-currency or bitcoins as the case may be, and have not taken measures to monitor such transactions or put adequate surveillance on such accounts. The banks are observed to still hold customers accounts in their suspense accounts, making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to trace and have access to those funds," he observed.

According to him, intelligence reports have shown that banks aid their customers to receive foreign financial inflows to their accounts from neighbouring countries like Ghana, Republic of Niger and other West African countries, where the banks have branches, adding that “The money is then couriered into Nigeria through the land borders to circumvent declaration and reporting."

Magu urged banks to act as gatekeepers, noting that no country could control illicit financial flows without the cooperation of financial institutions.

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