Following concerns on incidences of abuse of foreign money transfer in Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN had directed
all banks to ensure that all in-bound money transfers to Nigeria be disbursed only to beneficiaries through bank accounts as against earlier practice of presenting approved personal identification.
The CBN said where the beneficiary lacks a bank account; payments shall be made only upon the provision of a satisfactory reference from a current account holder in a bank, confirming that the beneficiary is the bona fide owner of the funds.
“It’s a welcome development in the banking system,’’ Acheme, a journalist with Voice of Nigeria’s economic and business unit said in reaction to the policy which took effect recently.
How money launderers work
‘’We know how they do it ...they station up to ten people in Nigeria, because the law says you can not send more than $250 at a time, but you can split that $250 within ten people and send it to them through money transfer and aggregate it into one account and that money is still your own,’’ said Acheme.
He said some people who can easily move money in and out of the country would now be checked and if it is “discovered that a person has taken certain amount of money they will now know where the money has passed through, how it has gone out and how it is even coming in.”
The journalist said there were kind of systems where people steal money from Nigeria, take it outside the country and bring it back to the country within three or four days.
In his words: “..for somebody in the ministry to move money and that money is dedicated for a foreign project, you can’t just lodge it in Nigeria, it has to go into a foreign account, but they collaborate with people outside there, move the money under that contract terms into those accounts and then they split the money back into the country through something like western money transfer and their agents now re-assemble the money into one account and they pay them pea nuts and the business is done.”