The Inter-Governmental Action Against Money Laundering and Terrorists Financing in West Africa (GIABA) has said it is not aware of the European Commission’s adding of Nigeria to a blacklist of nations seen as posing a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering.
Apart from reputational damage, inclusion on the list complicates financial relations with the EU.
The bloc’s banks will have to carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions.
GIABAs Information Manager in Nigeria, Mr Timothy Melaye, in an exclusive chat with said: “My office is not aware of any evaluation that has resulted in the blacklist.”
GIABA is an institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) established in 2000 to combat terrorists financing and fight against money laundering across West Africa.
It is the Financial Action Task Force-Style (FATF) Regional Body (FSRB) that fully adheres to the FATF 40 + 9 Recommendations.
The EU had recently listed 23 jurisdictions, up from an earlier 16, with “strategic deficiencies in their anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing regimes,” according to Reuters.
Criteria used to blacklist countries include weak sanctions against money laundering and terrorism financing, insufficient cooperation with the EU on the matter and lack of transparency about the beneficial owners of companies and trusts.
Melaye said: “The internationally recognised body for such evaluation is the FATC, and before such pronouncement, you will have the onsite visit and valuation which then led to a report. Nigeria’s evaluation is due in September this year.”
The other countries are: Afghanistan, North Korea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, Botswana, Ghana, Samoa, the Bahamas and the four United States territories of American Samoa, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam.