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CBN warns banks against transaction with Benin Republic

CBN Headquarters

. Says ‘It’s becoming drug trafficking hub’

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks and other financial institutions operating in the country to implement enhanced measures on existing accounts and transactions related to the Benin Republic.

In a circular dated April 11 and signed by Director, Banking Supervision Department, Evelyn Asuquo, the apex bank said the directive was based on intelligence reports from competent sources that the Benin Republic is becoming a hub for illicit drug trade in West Africa.

She said the warning became imperative to avoid Nigerian financial institutions being used to move the illicit funds from illegal drug dealings, and mandated the reclassification of related customers as high risk.

Consequently, you are required to implement additional measures on customers and business relationships linked to the Benin Republic.

The circular reads: “We write to bring to your attention an intelligence report availed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which indicated that the Benin Republic is increasingly becoming a drug trafficking transit and consumption hub in West Africa

“In order to ensure that Nigerian banks are not used as conduits for laundering such illicit funds, it has become imperative to intensify the know-your-customer (KYC) and customer due diligence (CDD) measures in your bank as required by regulation.

“Consequently, you are required to implement additional measures on customers and business relationships linked to the Benin Republic. You are also required to re-classify related customers and transactions as high risk and conduct enhanced due diligence (ED) procedures accordingly.”

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