2023 Election: NFIU, EFCC Uncover N150tr Suspicious Transactions By Political Parties, Candidates


Transaction reports of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) released on Sunday has flagged fishy transactions summing up to N150tn between January and March 2022 from political parties and their candidates.

This is following the intensified surveillance of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and NFIU officials on campaign spending by political parties and their candidates ahead of the 2023 elections.

Sources of the EFCC and NFIU said their personnel were carrying out a series of joint operations to close in on suspicious spending by parties, candidates and top chieftains.

As part of the action to combat money laundering ahead of the general elections the EFCC deployed its operatives to track candidates’ campaign spending and monitor their bank accounts.

The movement was also orchestrated to frustrate the movement of huge cash under the guise of election spending by the candidates and their parties.

These suspicious transactions were reported by banks, insurance firms, microfinance banks, assets management companies, brokers and other financial institutions, according to the latest NFIU report.

The report shows that suspicious transactions have risen by 23 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to the corresponding period of last year.

Banks alone accounted for 2,810,213, according to the NFIU activity statistics. out of the 2,845,927 suspicious transactions recorded by financial institutions in the first quarter of the year.

By law, a Suspicious Transaction Report/Suspicious Activity Report with the NFIU detailing known or suspected violations of law or suspicious activities in line with the provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 is expected to be filled by financial institutions and designated non-financial institutions.

According to the NFIU report, during the review period, banks reported 2,810,213 STRs; merchant banks 14,810; assets management companies 8,237; micro-finance banks, 3,258; other financial institutions, 2,729; insurance companies 2,474; primary mortgage institutions, 1,911 and stock brokers 1,333.

Others are insurance brokers, 467; trustees, 264; finance companies, 176; development financial institutions, 35; financial institutions 10 and issuing houses, 10.

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The NFIU also disclosed that suspicious transactions increased by 22.91 per cent in Q1 2022 compared to Q1 2021.

Sources explained that the EFCC and the NFIU were scrutinising the financial ebb and flow of money into the accounts of the leading candidates, particularly, those who command a huge financial chest.

A source stated, “The anti-graft commission is serious about preventing candidates from using this election period to launder stolen public funds, hence the security watch on top bankers, including managers, chief compliance officers and others in the operations department of financial institutions. Anyone who flouts the protocol on money laundering will be dealt with.

“They (financial institutions) have been warned to report every suspicious transaction or movement of huge amounts of money in the remaining 100 days to the general elections.”

Asides bank managers, it was learnt that the anti-graft agencies had given the chief compliance officers of banks a strict directive to enforce the necessary protocol against money laundering in their respective financial institutions.

The compliance officers were expected to report suspicious transactions by political parties and their candidates to the NFIU and the EFCC for action.

Though it is a mandatory action required of the institutions, there were suspicions that many operators had not been complying faithfully.

Findings also indicate that the financial intelligence agencies were equally monitoring the Bureau De Change operators following reports that some of them were assisting politicians to clean up their looted funds.

When asked about the operation, the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, said, “I don’t have such information now, but I will find out and let you know.”

However, Uwujaren did not respond to subsequent calls and SMS on the issue.