Money laundering: FG orders suspension of cash withdrawals from public accounts

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The Federal Government has suspended cash withdrawal from all public accounts with immediate effect in line with the introduction of the new Naira Policy, which automatically activates Section 1 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.

The government issued the directive following the new Naira withdrawal policy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that in place of cash withdrawals, public officers are expected to open domiciliary accounts in foreign and local currencies ahead of the commencement of the new policy.

A statement signed by the Chief Media Analyst, Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Ahmed Dikko, noted that the Director/CEO of NFIU, Modibbo Hamman Tukur, gave the new directive at a parley with the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmud Yakubu, in Abuja.

The statement revealed that “the introduction of the new policy became necessary following the consistent devaluation of the Naira and the introduction of a new Naira Policy, which automatically activates Section 1 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.”

The action is also said to have been activated following the observation that most cash withdrawals from government accounts including payments for estacode for public officials, are often more than the cash withdrawal limit provided by the Money Laundering Act.

According to the NFIU boss, “the development exposes public officials to being liable to imprisonment.”

Tukur also said “the NFIU is already developing an advisory to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, state governors and local government chairmen across the country to direct all public servants in their employ to open domiciliary and Naira accounts ahead of the commencement of the policy which becomes compulsory by law.”

Tukur further said that “governors and LG chairmen will also need to organise training for market men and women on how to use ATM and POS Services.”

He, however, dismissed as false, claims being made by uninformed persons that the NFIU would block all Federal Government accounts from January 1, 2023.