The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday urged banks and other financial institutions to be vigilant and alert to possible emerging risks resulting from the circumvention of measures taken to protect the international financial system.
The central bank stated this in an administrative circular dated June 6, 2023, and signed by CBN Director, Financial Policy and Regulations Department, Chibuzo Efobi, which was addressed to banks and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) following the outcome of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary held between June 21-23, 2023.
The CBN further alerted the banks on the addition of Cameroon, Croatia, and Vietnam to the list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring by FATF.
The apex bank further stressed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, and Myanmar remained on the list of high-risk jurisdictions subject to “Call for Action”, urging that enhanced due diligence should be applied, and in severe cases, countermeasures may need to be implemented to safeguard the international financial system.
The bank emphasised that the suspension of the Russian Federation’s membership in the FATF remained in effect.
In light of the development, the central further directed financial institutions to note all additions to jurisdictions under “Increased Monitoring” as well as high-risk jurisdictions subject to a “Call for Action” and take necessary measures to mitigate these risks effectively.
The FATF is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog which sets international standards that aim to prevent illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.
It was, however, gathered that the jurisdictions under increased monitoring are actively working with the FATF to address strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing.
“When the FATF places a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, it means the country has committed to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes and is subject to increased monitoring. This list is often externally referred to as the grey list,” it noted in a statement posted on its website.
Essentially, the high-risk jurisdictions have significant strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and financing of proliferation.
“For all countries identified as high-risk, the FATF calls on all members and urges all jurisdictions to apply enhanced due diligence, and, in the most serious cases, countries are called upon to apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system from the money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing (ML/TF/PF) risks emanating from the country.
“This list is often externally referred to as the ‘black list’. Since February 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FATF has paused the review process for Iran and DPRK, given that they are already subject to the FATF’s call for countermeasures”, the task force added.