Ahead of the forthcoming general elections in 2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to guard against violation of Money Laundering Act.
This warning is coming following the CBN’s Monetary Policy Meeting (MPC) retaining the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) – otherwise known as a lending rate – at 14 per cent for the 14th times.
What money laundering entails
Money laundering is the act of concealing the transformation of profits from illegal activities and corruption into ostensibly “legitimate” assets. It may also be considered as a criminal activity. One may be found guilty, accounting for the proceeds without raising the suspicion of law enforcement agencies.
While speaking on behalf of the apex bank, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele said the banks that violate the Money Laundering Act under the guise of handling money for politicians risk stiff sanctions.
“On the 2019 elections, we had a meeting with the banks. We advised them to be very careful of money laundry issues. If they are caught, they will be heavily penalised. But banks have their rules and criteria; I don’t think banks will do anything that will violate the rules. When they go wrong, we will deal with them.” – Emefiele
Emefiele, who also spoke on lending to politicians, stressed that when banks lend to politicians, they have their acceptance criteria.
The CBN boss further emphasised that everybody must have learnt their lessons and not willing to conduct their businesses uncarefully. Emefiele maintained that the CBN is staying behind and watching to make sure that when issues go wrong or about to go wrong, they are dealt with appropriately.
The independent and Electoral Commission (INEC) had scheduled the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections for Saturday, 16th February 2019, while the Governorship and State Assembly/Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Council elections have been scheduled for Saturday, 2nd March 2019.