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CISLAC launches Anti-Money Laundering Tracker to curb illicit cash flows
THE Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has launched the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Tracker, a platform that is designed to track and report all issues concerning the fight against corruption, particularly money laundering in West Africa.
The event which took place in Abuja on Thursday, had representatives from the various government institutions that are involved, one way or another, in the anti-money laundering campaign, including the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the Ministry of Justice, as well as the media and other civil society organisations.
“The tracker will highlight the fact that money laundering is a cancer that dries out the resources from a rich continent stricken by poverty and deprivation,” said Adeshina Oke, a board member and Legal Adviser of CISLAC, while speaking at the event.
Oke, quoting the Financial Transparency Coalition, said that “around $1 trillion of illicit financial flows leave developing countries through companies with hidden ownership”, and out of this sum, “$15.7 billion pass through the Nigerian financial system every year”.
He also expressed worry that “Nigeria and Ghana have been recently blacklisted for money laundering and terrorism risks by the European Union” because of “strategic deficiencies” in the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regimes as well as insufficient cooperation with the EU on the matter.
The AML tracker is an offshoot of a bigger project tagged “Turning up the pressure: Tackling Money Laundering through multi-stakeholder approaches in ECOWAS countries.” The project is supported by the European Union through the Transparency International Secretariat in Berlin, with additional support from the Canadian Embassy.
The project is aimed at increasing public and political awareness on anti-money laundering mechanisms, in order to effectively prevent, detect, report and sanction laundering of corrupt proceeds in ECOWAS states.
Asides Nigeria, the project is also being run in seven other countries in the West African sub-region, including Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, Cote D’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.
Also speaking at the event, Sam Maduju, the Head of the Investigative Department of the Code of Conduct Bureau, pledged the institution’s commitment to the success of the AML tracker, as well as CISLAC’s other anti-corruption activities.
Maduju assured participants at the event that the CCB, which appeared to be sleeping in the past, is now fully awake and alive to its responsibilities, as could be attested in the number of cases that have so far been heard by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
He also expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for refusing to assent to a bill passed by the National Assembly, which he said was aimed at stripping the CCB of its investigative and prosecutorial powers, adding, rather thankfully, that the majority of the sponsors of the said bill would not be returning to the ninth Senate as they lost their re-election bid.