The Central Bank of Nigeria has urged Bureaux de Change operators in the country to embrace effective self-regulation in order to strengthen the fight against money laundering.

 The CBN Deputy Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department, Mustafa Haruna, said there was a need for BDC operators to mitigate the risks and vulnerabilities in the sub-sector by ensuring compliance with extant Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism laws and regulations.

 Haruna spoke at the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa Mutual Evaluation Exercise sensitization workshop for the South-West BDC operators in Lagos, according to a statement.

 He said the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria should develop and implement a code of conduct for members to promote ethical practices and transparency in the sector.

 The ABCON President, Dr. Aminu Gwadabe, said ABCON had consistently advised BDC operators to put in place and implement a system of internal policies, procedures, and controls, including Know Your Customer, customer due diligence and reporting of all suspicious transactions to regulators.

 According to him, ABCON is also training BDC  operators on a regular basis on the need to keep transaction records and get a designated compliance officer that has day-to-day oversight over AML/CFT program.

 He said the compliance officers had been taught the rules of preparing suspicious transaction reports, and rendering STRs’ returns to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit.

 The ABCON boss said the group had, over the years, established itself as a key player in the BDC industry, and had made several commitments and sacrifices to ensure that the sector continued to thrive and its members follow global best practices in the retail of foreign exchange to end-users.

 He said BDC operators would continue to meet a number of compliance requirements specified by Financial Action Task Force and local regulators.

 Gwadabe said the operators had conducted enhanced due diligence, a major compliance requirement, on some high-risk customers, adding, “The collation and reporting of foreign currency transactions and suspicious transactions by BDCs are now fully automated.”

 He said that ABCON had in February launched its Live Run Automation Portal in Lagos.

 The technology automates all BDC operations with those of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, NFIU and the CBN to improve the level of compliance of the BDC operators with set regulations, according to him.

Source: Punch News

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