The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has said the number of governors being monitored by the agency for possible money laundering arising from the redesign of the naira is rising.
Answering questions from newsmen shortly after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja on Thursday, the EFCC boss, however, refused to put a figure to the increase, saying he did not want to be misrepresented.
The anti-graft agency had previously revealed that three governors were being watched on the suspicion that they might attempt to launder stashed cash in their possession which they might not be able to lodge in the bank before the deadline by the Central Bank of Nigeria to return old notes for redesign.
According to him, the huge amount of the country’s currency that has left the hold of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) makes trailing financial crimes difficult, noting that the naira redesigning is an opportunity for the government to regain control over flow of cash in the country.
He said, “On the issue of the governors that we are monitoring, in fact, the numbers have even increased. We are monitoring everything; Nigerians are helping. Well, I don’t want to give you the figures so that you will not go and speculate whether they are in the north or in the south, but it’s important that Nigerians key into it.”
Commending the redesign initiative and how significant the amount of cash out of CBN’s control is, Bawa said, “Oh, it is, it is very significant. You know that there is an obligation of money laundering law that we have, in which an individual is expected to carry out a transaction that is above N5m through the financial institution, there is also the threshold in which a corporate entity is expected to carry out transactions that is above N10m in the financial sector and why is it so?
“It is so because financial institutions are expected to make currency transaction reports, and suspicious transaction reports to relevant agencies. With that, institutions like us will be able to monitor which funds are legitimate and which ones are not legitimate.