The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has asked all banks to update alert protocols in their Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism monitoring tools, in line with the red flags and emerging trends arising from the COVID-19 related financial crimes.
The CBN disclosed this in a statement signed and released by the director, financial policy and regulation department, J. M. Gana on Monday, October 19.
The apex bank in the statement titled ‘Administrative letters to all banks and other financial institutions’ said changes in the trends of business activities and financial transactions precipitated by COVID-19 pandemic inadvertently led to increase in financial crimes globally.
According to the central bank, this therefore required financial institutions to adapt rapidly and keep abreast with emerging risks and other developments while taking proactive steps to address the new and emerging ML/TF.
The part of the statement read: “The Nigerian Financial ‘intelligence Unit, as the central repository of suspicious transactions and other financial information had issued an Advisory based on comprehensive analysis of S RS and other information available to it.
The advisory identified increased financial frauds or crimes such as cybercrimes, frauds, counterfeiting and substandard goods; diversion of public funds and misuse of Non-Governmental “organisations (NGOC).
Some vulnerabilities and red flags highlighted in the advisory were e-commerce merchants with little or no history or Internet presence suddenly receiving multiple payments from unrelated third parties.
Others are individuals suddenly receiving multiple payments from unrelated third parties, and customers suddenly engaging in the supply or purchases of medical supplies and payment for goods and services associated with known brands, yet, the beneficiary is an individual not a corporate body.
The central bank also disclosed that there were unusual transaction dynamics from customers.
The CBN said some non-profit organisations were suddenly receiving donations in favour of COVID-19 patients or victims.
According the apex bank, some non-profit organisations were suddenly receiving donations in favour of COVID-19 patients or victims.
It said some customer accounts with little or no activity that suddenly receive funds from one or more unrelated third parties only for the funds to be transferred to one or more unrelated third parties.
NGOs under the guise of paying COVID-19 victims could actually be paying members of a criminal gang terrorist financing.