Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Nigeria

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report

Nigeria remains a major drug transshipment point and a significant center for criminal financial activity. Individuals, such as internet fraudsters and corrupt officials and businessmen, as well as criminal and terrorist organizations take advantage of the country’s location, porous borders, weak laws, corruption, inadequate enforcement, and poor socioeconomic conditions to launder the proceeds of crime. The proceeds of illicit drugs in Nigeria derive largely from foreign criminal activity rather than domestic activities. Drug traffickers reportedly use Nigerian financial institutions to conduct currency transactions involving U.S. dollars derived from illicit drugs.

Proceeds from drug trafficking; illegal oil bunkering; bribery and embezzlement; contraband smuggling; theft, including bank robberies; and financial crimes, such as bank fraud, real estate fraud, and identity theft, constitute major sources of illicit proceeds in Nigeria. Advance fee fraud, also known as “419 fraud” in reference to the fraud section in Nigeria’s criminal code, remains a lucrative financial crime that generates hundreds of millions of illicit dollars annually.

Money laundering in Nigeria takes many forms, including: investment in real estate; wire transfers to offshore banks; political party and campaign financing; deposits into foreign bank accounts; abuse of professional services, such as lawyers, accountants, and investment advisers; reselling imported goods, such as luxury or used cars, textiles, and consumer electronics purchased with illicit funds; and bulk cash smuggling. Cybercrime in Nigeria is becoming more sophisticated. Nigerian cybercriminals have not traditionally employed sophisticated hacking/exploit techniques to conduct their crimes, rather, they have relied on social engineering. Recently, however, there has been an increase in the use of sophisticated techniques, such as e-mail hacking/intrusions. There also have been a number of recent cases in which subjects located in Nigeria have owned and operated botnets through which they have conducted distributed denial of service attacks. Nigerian criminal enterprises are often adept at evading detection and subverting international and domestic law enforcement efforts.

In October 2013, the FATF removed Nigeria from its list of countries subject to monitoring because of strategic AML/CFT deficiencies. The FATF noted Nigeria’s significant progress in addressing deficiencies in its AML/CFT regime and meeting the commitments in its action plan.

For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found here: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/

DO FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ENGAGE IN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING THAT INCLUDE SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF US CURRENCY; CURRENCY DERIVED FROM ILLEGAL SALES IN THE U.S.; OR ILLEGAL DRUG SALES THAT OTHERWISE SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECT THE U.S.: YES

CRIMINALIZATION OF MONEY LAUNDERING:

“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: List approach

Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES

KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) RULES:

Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: YES

KYC covered entities: Banks, investment and securities broker/dealers, and discount houses; insurance institutions; debt factorization and conversion firms, money exchanges, and finance companies; money brokerage firms whose principal business includes factoring, project financing, equipment leasing, debt administration, fund management, private ledger service, investment management, local purchase order financing, export finance, project and financial consultancy, or pension funds management; dealers in jewelry, cars, and luxury goods; chartered accountants, audit firms, and tax consultants; clearing and settlement companies and legal practitioners; hotels, casinos, and supermarkets

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:

Number of STRs received and time frame: 1,770: January 1 – September 30, 2013

Number of CTRs received and time frame: 6,051,290: January 1 – September 30, 2013

STR covered entities: Banks, investment and securities broker/dealers, and discount houses; insurance institutions; debt factorization and conversion firms, money exchanges, and finance companies; money brokerage firms whose principal business includes factoring, project financing, equipment leasing, debt administration, fund management, private ledger service, investment management, local purchase order financing, export finance, project and financial consultancy, or pension funds management; dealers in jewelry, cars, and luxury goods; chartered accountants, audit firms, and tax consultants; clearing and settlement companies and legal practitioners; hotels, casinos, and supermarkets

MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS/CONVICTIONS:

Prosecutions: 17: October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013

Convictions: 13: October 1, 2012 – September 30, 2013

RECORDS EXCHANGE MECHANISM:

With U.S.: MLAT: YES Other mechanism: YES

With other governments/jurisdictions: YES

Nigeria is a member of the Inter Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at: http://www.giaba.org/reports/mutual-evaluation/Nigeria.html

ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS:

In 2013, Nigerian authorities continued to work to address strategic deficiencies in the country’s AML/CFT regime. Notably, the Government of Nigeria enacted the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013, which, respectively, criminalize fraud as a predicate offense to money laundering and criminalize the financing of terrorism in line with international standards. Nigeria likewise instituted a framework for freezing without delay the assets of UN-designated terrorists and for domestically designating non-UN-listed terrorists. Also in 2013, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency Autonomy Bill, which would make the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) a stand-alone agency, as opposed to a subsection of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), passed its second reading before the Nigerian Senate.

Nigerian financial institutions appear generally conscientious in submitting currency transaction reports (CTRs) to the relevant authorities. However, the sheer volume of those reports combined with the fact that many, if not most, are likely to be legitimate transactions, given the cash-based nature of the Nigerian economy, make it particularly difficult for the government to detect suspicious activity.

Pervasive corruption, a lack of investigative capacity, and interagency dysfunction have hindered or blocked numerous prosecutions and investigations related to money laundering. Nigeria should ensure the EFCC and the NFIU are able to perform their functions without undue influence and free from political pressure; and, in accordance with international standards, should support the operational autonomy of its FIU. The government also should ensure the confidentiality of information the FIU collects or acquires. Additionally, Nigeria should strengthen its supervision of designated non-financial businesses and professions, work to thwart corruption at all levels of government, and make every effort to ensure the agencies that pursue money laundering-related cases, including the EFCC, Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission, Nigerian Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons, Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, Nigerian Customs Service, and National Police Force, have the resources, support, and capacity to function as investigators or investigative partners in such cases.

More generally, Nigeria should work to ensure law enforcement agencies cooperate effectively when investigating suspected money laundering. The ongoing inability and/or unwillingness of Nigeria’s law enforcement agencies to share information or conduct joint investigations significantly hinders the government’s efforts to combat money laundering. This issue is especially important with regard to CFT. The State Security Service (SSS) is the primary investigating agency for terrorism cases, but some agencies have asserted it does not have the capacity to investigate terrorism financing or money laundering and that it does not share case information with other agencies that conduct financial investigations. There remain general questions as to the role of the SSS versus that of the EFFC in the investigation of terrorism financing.

Nigeria should adopt safe harbor provisions to protect STR reporting entities and their employees. It also should consider developing a cadre of specially trained judges with dedicated portfolios in order to process financial crimes cases as quickly and effectively as possible. The National Assembly also should adopt a non-conviction-based asset forfeiture bill.