AGF Calls for Use of Technology to Tackle Rising Illicit Financial Flows

November 22, 2023
Illicit Financial Flows

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), has said that Nigeria must use technologies to tackle illicit financial flows which pose a serious threat to the country which is facing rising cases of money laundering and terrorism

He called on member states of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) to deploy modern technologies to combat illicit financial flows in the sub-region during his speech at the 2023 summit for Compliance Officers themed Intersection of Technology and anti-money laundering; combating of financing of terrorism and proliferation on Tuesday in Abuja.

Mr Fagbemi, who is also the Chairman of the GIABA Ministerial Committee, said member countries should prioritise the deployment of new technologies to address the threats.

In his remarks, the Director-General of GIABA, Mr Edwin Harris, said although technology offered new ways to prevent crimes related to money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, it also presents some challenges.

He said new technologies on anti-money laundering must reflect threats and opportunities, and be compatible with the international standards of data protection, privacy and cyber security.

According to him, this is important to promote the effective implementation of laws against money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation.

“We believe that in this era of rapid technological advancement, technology plays a major role in anti-money laundering and financing of terrorism and proliferation compliance and in strengthening the safety of the global financial system.

“The pace of technology has continued to advance significantly in recent years, bringing with it hosts of technologies such as data analytics and machine learning, which promise improved safety analytic compliance,” Mr Harris said.

In his remarks, Mr Tukur Mobibbo, the Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), said countries and financial institutions should use technology to identify and assess money laundering terrorism financing risks.

Mr Mobibbo, who was represented by Mr Muhammad Jaya, Associate-Director, Analysis and Compliance Directorate of NFIU, said financial crimes are dynamic and across borders.

“In West African countries in terms of new technologies, only one country out of the seventeen countries have compliance, seven have partial compliance, and nine which is 52 per cent have no compliance with new technology.

“Globally, out of the ten most impacted countries in terms of terrorism and financing of terrorism, four are from West Africa.

“This is to underscore the importance of this great summit; we have continued to use technology to leverage technology in the coordination and fights against money laundering and terrorism financing,” he added.

According to him, Nigeria has deployed a crime record information system into more than 40 competent authorities in the country and is leveraging technology to fight woes in cryptocurrency transactions.

The summit was a platform for the participants to share experiences, and foster collaboration and cooperation in the use of technology to curb money laundering, terrorism financing, and its proliferation.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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