By Adenike Lucas
Nigeria remains excluded from attending all Egmont Group events and activities, DENISAURUS News can authoritatively reveal.
Nigeria’s Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, was suspended from the world financial group, which includes the United States and the United Kingdom, last year.
Months after this newspaper alerted the world to news that Nigeria’s FIU had been suspended from the renowned regulatory body; the country is yet to be re-admitted.
In fact, instead of being re-admitted into the group of 156 Financial Intelligence Units, FIUs, insiders believe that the NFIU, domiciled at the EFCC could be expelled because it was still not autonomous.
The Vice President, Yemi Osibanjo, a staunch ally of Ibrahim Mustafa Magu constituted a panel to reset the NFIU, last year.
But, up till now nothing has been heard from Prof Osinbajo’s ad hoc committee over the matter.
Despite, the speedy passage of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency, NFIA Bill by the Senate, Mr Magu and a few others are still working against lawmakers desperately trying to resolve the issues raised by the financial group.
The damages that would manifest, should Nigeria be totally removed from the Egmont Group can not be over emphasised.
An EFCC staff explained that if the NFIU is ejected from the Egmont Group, there would be no way to track the finances of drug barons, cyber criminals, separatist, terrorists sponsors and the rest.”
According to the employee, who wished to stay anonymous, “the expulsion from the Egmont would be a huge blow for Nigeria. The country has been battling with terrorism and the reason is that their source of finance and sponsor have not been nipped in the bud.”
The senior operative admitted that effort had been made in the past by the NFIU to track this dodgy finances but “the illicit activities of Mr Magu, has caused the renowned financial body to block this important work.”
A media report states that should Nigeria be disqualified from Egmont, the country “will be unable to issue Mastercard and Visa credit/debit cards while card transactions with Nigerian originated cards will be blocked meaning Nigerians cannot do foreign transactions.”
Despite, the server based in Toronto Canada, being crucial in the fight against corruption, the group reportedly decided to disable Nigeria’s access to its server, because the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Magu was using the NFIU, to provide false evidence.
DENISAURUS News first reported the suspension in May 2017.
Then, a source at the EFCC said that the anti-graft boss, who has the backing of Nigeria’s Vice President, was “exposing privileged information to those who should not be allowed access.”
But, the anti-graft boss, who is said to have failed to comply with legal regime framework as required by the Egmont group denied the allegation, claiming this newspaper was working for “paymasters.”
SEE: EFCC’s Press Release denying suspension.
At its 24th plenary in Macao, the group confirmed the suspension, saying that “the Heads of FIU made a decision, by consensus, to suspend the membership status of the NFIU, Nigeria, following repeated failures on the part of the FIU to address concerns regarding the protection of confidential information, specifically related to the status of suspicious transaction report (STR) details and information derived from international exchanges, as well as concerns on the legal basis and clarity of the NFIU’s independence from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
According to the statement, “the measure will remain in force until immediate corrective actions are implemented.
Consequently, Nigeria which has been “excluded from all Egmont Group events and activities,” can not partake in the next plenary schedule to take place from the 2nd and 7th of March, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.