Viewing cable 01ABUJA2521

01ABUJA25212001-10-03 16:13:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Abuja
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A 
REF: (A) STATE 165224 (B) ABUJA 2416 
¶1. This is an action request -- see para 6. 
¶2. Summary.  Emboffs met with CBN Deputy Governor Ebi to 
discuss Ref A.  Ebi promised to re-examine the CBN's 
mechanisms to combat financial crimes and crack-down on 
terrorists' financial activities.  The CBN's International 
Financial Crime Unit has authority to investigate and freeze 
assets and provides support to the national police for 
arrests and prosecutions.  Financial crimes, however, do not 
include money laundered from any source other than narcotics 
trafficking.  An amendment to the Money Laundering Decree 
would be necessary to overcome this deficiency.  Post 
requests information from the Department.  End Summary. 
¶3. EconOff and RNLEO met September 27 with Central Bank 
Deputy Governor Ernest Ebi to discuss President Bush's 
Executive Order that enables U.S. authorities to crack-down 
on terrorists' financial activities per Ref A.  EconOff 
presented Ebi with copies of the Executive Order.  Ebi 
promised that the CBN would re-examine its mechanisms to 
combat financial crimes, including strengthening 
investigations into terrorists' financial activities.  He 
commented that the International Financial Crime Unit, within 
the CBN's Foreign Operations Department, has the authority to 
investigate financial crimes, such as 419 frauds, and freeze 
accounts and assets determined to be involved.  It does not, 
however, have the power to arrest or prosecute, he disclosed. 
 It might be possible, he said, to expand the mandate of this 
¶4. Ebi said there is a committee comprised of officers from 
the International Financial Crime Unit, the Money Laundering 
Surveillance Unit (also under the CBN), and the International 
Financial Surveillance Unit.  This committee had proposed, 
and may soon begin, issuing periodic reports on the findings 
of its member agencies that would recommend specific actions 
to be taken by the relevant Ministry, whether that be the 
Ministry of Justice, the Central Bank or another agency.  Ebi 
mentioned that the CBN had implemented a new policy in 2001 
whereby it would provide the national police with funding and 
logistical support to facilitate financial crime prosecution. 
 As part of this program, the CBN also offers rewards for 
successful prosecutions. 
¶5. RNLEO pointed out that the FATF designated Nigeria a 
non-cooperative country in 2001, in large part because the 
governing law, the Money Laundering Decree of 1995, had major 
deficiencies.  The 1995 law only provides for the 
investigation and prosecution of funds that have been derived 
from narcotics trafficking, not for money derived from myriad 
other criminal enterprises such as arms sales, trafficking in 
persons or corruption.  Ebi did not appear to be aware of 
this shortcoming.  He did, however, agree to look into the 
issue.  Ebi said he would meet with the CBN legal department 
and task one of his officers to write recommendations on how 
the Central Bank could move forward with prohibiting 
terrorists from accessing financial resources. 
¶6. Comment and Action Request.  Even if the CBN were to 
toughen its stance against financial crimes, these crimes 
would not include money laundered from crimes other than drug 
trafficking.  Moreover, the CBN will remain dependent on the 
police or NDLEA for criminal investigations and prosecutions. 
 One action the GON needs to undertake to crack-down on the 
financial assets of terrorists is to reform the 1995 law or 
draft new legislation that would rectify this deficiency. 
Also key to effective money laundering controls will be the 
creation of a central GON office -- probably within the 
Presidency -- to coordinate law enforcement action among the 
many GON agencies and serve as a money laundering information 
clearing house (a "Financial Intelligence Unit" as called for 
by the FATF).  Post will work with the National Assembly, the 
Presidency, Central Bank and Ministries of Justice and 
Finance to encourage immediate action on this issue.  Post 
requests Department to provide text of U.S. laws and 
regulations governing financial crimes and terrorist 
activities that might help the GON in promulgating its 
prospective new law and regulations on this issue.  End 
Comment and Action Request.