CLAIM: Media reports say the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit is probing Lawan, Gbajabiamila, CJN Tanko Muh’d and others.
FASLE: Although the NFIU denied probing the banks, it did, however, corroborate the existence of the document in a statement- albeit leaked and unauthorised. Nonetheless, the document didn’t mention anybody’s name as alleged by the media reports making the claim false.
Four days ago, Sept. 13, Vanguard, Nairaland, Daily Nigeria, Punch, Guardian and WhatsApp were flooded with reports about a letter. Said document was purported to have been written to banks by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) requesting for the account details of some lawmakers and members of the Judiciary.
According to the letter dated September 10 and signed by the Associate Director, Analysis and Compliance, Fehintola Salisu, the NFIU gave all the banks until September 13 to comply with the directive.
The letter was addressed to all Chief Compliance Officers of the banks.
Who are the NFIU?
The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) is a global financial unit that maintains autonomy whilst operating within the African Region. Their operations with respect to combating money laundering and financing terrorism seek to comply with international standards. The NFIU works within the Central Bank of Nigeria as the Nigerian arm of the global financial intelligence Units (FIUs).
From our investigations, the NFIU has denied the story alleging it requested bank details of National Assembly (NASS) and Judiciary workers. This is reflected in this news report by Premium Times and the Sun. In the reports, it was revealed that it is well within the NFIU’s jurisdiction to access bank account details for citizens, further adding that investigative and law enforcement agencies rely on them for such information. This same sentiment was expressed by others in some media circles like this one.
“The attention of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), has been drawn to media reports stating that the unit had requested banks to furnish it with the account details of principal officers of the National Assembly and the Judiciary. Such reports are not true…”NFIU Statement I
Interestingly, in a statement yesterday by the agency, it was revealed that the document was leaked. Also, an internal investigation has been launched to identify and sanction the culprits in a bid to curb recurrence.
“Having been aware that the leaked letter was not subjected to the appropriate level of authorisation before transmission, the NFIU has commenced investigation to unravel the persons and the factors that led to the inadvertent circumvention of our internal process in this isolated case with a view to applying appropriate sanctions as deterrence,”NFIU Statement II
Nonetheless, what is clear is that contrary to allegations by media reports , no particular names were mentioned in this document. Hence, it calls to question publications that referenced Lawan, Gbajabiamila, etc. This was probably done consequent on these names belonging to one of the five categories for accounts requested.
Although the NFIU denied probing the banks, it did, however, corroborate the existence of said document in a statement- albeit leaked and unauthorised. Nonetheless, the document didn’t mention anybody’s name as alleged by the media reports making the claim false.