Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Niger

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report

Niger is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. Niger is not a regional financial center; its banking sector is rudimentary. It is a member of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), and so shares its central bank and currency, the CFA Franc, with other countries in the region. High transaction costs deter businesses from placing large amounts of cash in the banking system. Most economic activity takes place in the informal, cash-based financial sector; and informal remitters and other money and value transfer services are widespread.

With porous borders and a large, under-governed territory, Niger provides an ideal transit point for various criminal organizations and terrorist groups. Money laundering and financial crimes are commonplace in Niger. Illegal proceeds derive from trafficking of drugs, small arms, people, and everyday commodities across the Algerian and Mauritanian borders in the sparsely-populated north of the country. Since 2008, kidnappings for ransom have been used as a fundraising method for terrorist groups. More recent factors affecting security are the continuing rise in regional instability and terrorist activity, aided in part by the fall of the Qaddafi Government in Libya and the coup in western neighbor Mali. The continued threats to security posed by al Qaida, its affiliates, and Nigeria-based terror group Boko Haram are also significant.

After a 2010 military coup, Niger installed a democratically-elected government in April 2011. In October 2014, the National Assembly President, a leading opposition figure, fled Niger to avoid being arrested on criminal charges. Some members of the opposition feel these charges are politically motivated. As of November 2014, the political climate in Niger is contentious as elections are scheduled to take place in 2016.

For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at: 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.: NO

criminalizATION OF money laundering:

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

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: Public Treasury and State Savings Deposit institutions; BCEAO; banks, microfinance institutions, and money exchanges; insurance companies and brokers; securities exchanges or brokers; post office; mutual funds and fixed capital investment companies; lawyers, asset or fund custodians, and management and intermediation firms; business brokers for financial entities, auditors, and real estate agents; sellers of high-value items, fine arts, or precious stones; fund carriers; casinos; travel agencies; and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:

Number of STRs received and time frame: 37 in 2014

Number of CTRs received and time frame: Not applicable

STR covered entities: Public Treasury and State Savings Deposit institutions; BCEAO; banks, microfinance institutions, and money exchanges; insurance companies and brokers; securities exchanges or brokers; post office; mutual funds and fixed capital investment companies; lawyers, asset or fund custodians, and management and intermediation firms; business brokers for financial entities, auditors, and real estate agents; sellers of high-value items, fine arts, or precious stones; fund carriers; casinos; travel agencies; and NGOs

money laundering criminal Prosecutions/convictions:

Prosecutions: 3 in 2014

Convictions: 1 in 2014

Records exchange mechanism:

With U.S.: MLAT: NO Other mechanism: NO

With other governments/jurisdictions: YES

Niger 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/Niger.html

Enforcement and implementation issues and comments:

In spite of its severe lack of resources, in the last few years Niger has made notable efforts to rectify the identified deficiencies in its AML/CFT regime and increase its capacity to implement that regime. Despite those efforts, the Government of Niger’s AML/CFT laws are not in full compliance with international standards. Although addressed in the AML/CFT laws, customer due diligence procedures for designated non-financial businesses and professions (DNFBPs) have not been implemented.

The National Center for the Treatment of Financial Information (CENTIF), Niger’s financial intelligence unit (FIU), submitted five reports to the Ministry of Justice for legal action in 2014. CENTIF works with other FIUs in the region to provide technical assistance and outreach to stakeholders. In addition, Nigerien authorities cooperate with law enforcement efforts, mutual legal assistance, and asset sharing groups within the region. The Government of Niger has an AML/CFT inter-ministerial committee.

The Government of Niger should continue to improve its AML/CFT regime in conjunction with regional partners and international donors. It also should ensure its laws are fully implemented, to include the enforcement of KYC and reporting requirements for all DNFBPs.