The Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering, SCUML, on Thursday October 4, 2012 commenced the enforcement of compliance with the provisions of the Money Laundering Act 2011 by Designated Non- Financial Institutions DNFIs (hotels, real estate firms, auto dealers, audit and accounting firms, casinos, supermarkets bureau de change, law firms, etc), with the arrest of officials of seven companies in Abuja.
Those arrested include Mr. Austin Olefa, manager, Pent House Properties; Alhaji Abdullahi Mohammed , chief executive officer, Abmed Motors; Mathew Abang and Eguakum Ekenema, manager and general manager respectively, Jorany Hotels; Ndubisi Akabogu, accountant, Grand Product Company Limited (Grand Square); Juvita Akwari, and Obinna Ugoma, manager and accountant respectively, Lamonde Hotels; Wole Oladapo and Osayi Gavin, accountant and marketer respectively, Febsons Hotels and Abiodun Adelasu of Nawa Properties.
They were arrested at the start of a special operation designed to compel compliance with the anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism regulations by DNFIs.
Section 5 of the Money Laundering Act 2011, requires existing businesses to submit, within three months from the commencement of the Act, a declaration of their activities and all record of transactions. They are equally required to file returns on transaction within seven days from the date of the transaction in chronological order, indicating each customers surname, forenames and address.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN a few weeks ago also came up a with circular, directing financial institutions to demand evidence of registration with SCUML as condition for doing business with DNFIs
Angel Nworgu, Head SCUML said the arrest of the company executives marks a turning point in the enforcement of the anti- money laundering laws, adding that the days of impunity and non compliance by DNFIs were over. She promised that more arrests would be made as the exercise continues.
Meanwhile, investigations into the activities of the companies affected in the raid continue.