The Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) has instructed banks and other financial institutions to identify, verify and keep adequate records of the real beneficial owners of business accounts and other special-purpose vehicles.
CBN stated this in its new guideline titled guidance on ultimate beneficial owners of Legal persons and legal arrangements published on Monday,
The guideline signed by Chibuzor Efobi, the CBN’s Director of Financial Policy and Regulations Department aimed at tackling money Laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.
The apex bank noted that the 10 pages guideline was necessitated by the growing use of corporate vehicles, such as companies, trusts, foundations, and other types of legal persons and legal arrangements by criminals to cover up and convert the proceeds of crime.
CBN hopes the new guideline strengthens Nigeria’s position in line with the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF’s) demand that countries “ensure that adequate, accurate and timely information on” beneficial ownership is accessible to check corporate vehicles from being abused in the financial system.
“Legal persons and legal arrangements are susceptible to abuse for money laundering and terrorist financing. Hence, the need to identify, verify and have credible and reliable information on the legal and beneficial owners of all corporate vehicles and entities; to ensure that such information is available and easily accessible in a timely manner by competent authorities,” CBN stated.
The apex bank outlined that the guideline, which draws from global standards, was issued to financial institutions (FIs) under its purview as defined under the Central Bank of Nigeria (Anti-Money Laundering, Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Countering Proliferation Financing of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Financial Institutions) Regulations, 2022, (CBN AML/CFT/CPF Regulations).
CBN know your customer guideline comes on the heels of controversies between the Department of State Services (DSS) and the apex bank’s Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on sundry allegations of national security issues.
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