The acting Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulkarim Chukkol, cautioned Nigerians on Thursday to be wary of the proceeds of money laundering.
Chukkol gave the advice during a one-day workshop on ‘Effective Reporting of Economic and Financial Crimes’ organised by the Makurdi zonal office of the anti-graft commission.
Represented by the Head, Makurdi Zonal Command, Mr Friday Ebelo, the acting chairman said that under the Money Laundering Act, 2022, family members and close allies of politicians and public office holders, including top civil servants, are now classified as ‘Politically Exposed Persons.’
He urged the media to educate family members and friends of politicians that they run the risk of going to jail if they allow their companies or bank accounts to be used to launder proceeds from illegal activities.
Chukkol reiterated the determination of the commission to ensure that anyone who steals from the public treasury and all those who assist them to do so under whatever guise is brought to justice, saying that ignorance of the law will not be an excuse.
The acting chairman specifically stated that cyber criminality has risen in Benue due to the inflow of youths into the state for money laundering and also decried the proliferation of fake dollars in circulation.
He said, “Let me call on the media to help enlighten family members and allies of politicians who are classified as ‘Politically Exposed Persons’ about the fight against money laundering.”
“We should come together to fight this, to rid our society of corruption.”
Speaking on the activities of the commission, Chukkol said that the commission recorded 3,785 convictions as of 2022 nationwide.
He said that the Makurdi Zonal Command, which was established in 2019, had already recorded 107 convictions between 2019 and September 2023.
He said the workshop, which is the ninth in the series by the commission this year and the first outing in Makurdi Zonal Command, was designed to upgrade the skills of media men and women to enable them to discharge their duties as financial crime reporters more efficiently.
“The decision to engage you all in a training session is buoyed by the appreciation of the fact that you occupy a strategic place in the fight against corruption.
“You are the vehicle through which the EFCC reaches the Nigerian public with information about our operations.
“You also play crucial roles in helping to mobilise the people to embrace the fight against corruption. This makes the media one of the most critical allies of the EFCC,” he added.