Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Nigeria: NFIU seek financial information of lawmakers in corruption fight

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Recalcitrant tax defaulters, high-end politicians, top civil servants, businessmen and other wealthy Nigerians with questionable sources of income are now in panic mode as the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and other anti-graft agencies began beaming their searchlight on them in line with the Federal Government’s effort to retrieve state funds tallegedly siphoned in shady transactions.

Their mounting anxiety is coming from the Unit’s recent directive to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to immediately release the account details of all legislators (including Senate and House of Representatives) and judicial officials in the country.

The NFIU, in a letter dated September 10, 2019 and signed by Fehintola Salisu, NFIU Associate Director, Analysis and Compliance, directed Chief Compliance Officers of banks to furnish it with account names, numbers and transaction details of the top civil servants.

Though the reason for the sensitive request was not expressly stated in the letter, it may not be unconnected with the unit’s recent moves to clampdown on those involved in financial graft of gargantuan proportions.

The agency also sought the account details of members of the National Judicial Council (NJC).

Although it listed judges and National Assembly members as well, there was no mention of any member of the executive arm of government.

The letter read: “Request for information on: All accounts of: the National Assembly, National Judicial Council (NJC), all the members of the National Assembly, principal officers (management) of the National Assembly Service Commission, (and) of principal officers of the judiciary.

“Kindly provide the NFIU with a schedule (account names and account numbers) of the National Assembly, members of the National Assembly and principal officers of the National Assembly Service Commission, as well as all accounts of National Judicial Service Commission and their principal officers including judges and other relevant politically exposed persons.”

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