By Sunny A Ijomah
The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa called on journalists in the Northeast to be proactive and use the tools of Investigative Journalism to expose corrupt practices, especially money laundering and financing of terrorism.
The Chairman who spoke through ACE Oshodi Johnson, Commander, Maiduguri Zonal Command of the Commission, at a one day workshop on Effective Reporting of Economic and Financial Crimes for Journalists covering the activities of the Commission.
Mr. Bawa urged the participants to be alive to their responsibilities as members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm and ask questions where corrupt practices were suspected.
He drew the attention of the journalists to the new anti- money laundering framework and urged them to be conversant with the new laws in order to better inform the public and other stakeholders.
In his words, the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 and the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 are new legislations designed to prevent and tackle illicit financial flows and money laundering in Nigeria.
The Chairman further urged journalists to monitor the activities of Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions, DNFBPs, to determine their level of compliance with their obligations to the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering, SCUML, under the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, and the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.
Mr. Bawa pointed out that Section 56 of the Terrorism Act empowers SCUML, which is now fully domiciled in the EFCC, to refuse or revoke the registration of any NGO linked to terrorist groups.
Three papers were presented at the workshop. ACE11 Chris Mshelia presented an Overview of the Anti-Money Laundering Framework, drawing attention to the important provisions of the new Money Laundering Act 2022, and the obligations for individuals and corporate bodies, while ACE1 Obiageli Okechukwu spoke on Digital Payment Statement: Emerging Opportunities for Fraud and Prevention Tips for Victims.
Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Dele Oyewale, spoke on ”Investigative Journalism and Nigeria’s Fight against Money Laundering, where he charged the Nigerian media to focus on investigative and developmental journalism rather than sensational news.
According to Mr. Oyewale, The fight against corruption can be won if you journalists discharge your responsibilities professionally by engaging in investigative journalism with a focus on social justice and accountability.
‘This workshop was organized as a way of interfacing with journalists and deepening the relationship between the Commission and the media.’