The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, (ICAN), has expressed its willingness to partner with the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML), and other stakeholders to eliminate corruption in the country.
Innocent Okwuosa, 59th president of ICAN, made the commitment in Lagos during a retreat of the institute’s governing council.
At the retreat where representatives of the SCUML, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), and the big four accounting firms were in attendance, the ICAN president stated that the retreat was organised to review the institute’s processes in view of its upward trajectory mandate to deepen its advocacy and thought leadership mandate in national development, among other initiatives
Okwuosa seized the opportunity to appeal to SCUML to review some of its operational processes that make direct registration difficult, forcing stakeholders to register through consultants.
He also promised that the institute would leverage the template received from SCUML to implement market entry control checks on licensed firms.
Daniel Isei, director at SCUML represented by Matthew Enu stated that as a global standard-setter, self–regulatory body, ICAN should take the necessary measures to prevent criminals or their associates from being professionally accredited or holding a significant, controlling interest or management function in accounting firms.
He further urged ICAN to always partner with law enforcement agents or relevant authorities in conducting background checks on intending licensees.
Shuaibu Adamu Ahmed, executive secretary at FRC traced the origin of the council to ICAN’s establishment of the then Nigerian Accounting Standards Board (NASB) which later metamorphosed into the Financial Reporting Council. He commended the institution for its immense roles and collaboration with FRC.
“An excellent cordial relationship with relevant stakeholders in the Accountancy profession is important for the growth and development of the profession in our country.
The FRC is therefore urging the professional accountancy bodies in the country to work with FRC for the good of the profession and the country at large,” he said.
Similarly, Chinedum Odenyi, head of sanctions at NFIU, posited that the Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs) are the most crucial and vulnerable to money laundering and terrorism financing.
He, therefore, solicited more interaction with ICAN to strengthen compliance with the relevant Anti Money Laundry/Combating the Financing of Terrorism/Counter Proliferation Financing (AML/CFT/CPF) laws, regulations, and guidelines to ensure there is a clear understanding of obligations.
He also recommended establishing an effective system to identify ML/TF risks, have measures in place to mitigate those risks, and file Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) to the NFIU.
According to Odenyi, “These are part of the requirements for Nigeria to exit the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list.”
Odenyi further urged DNFBPs to develop and implement robust processes and procedures for the implementation of AML/CFT/CPF obligations with particular emphasis on Risk Assessment on Money Laundering and Associated predicate offenses, stand-alone Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT) risk assessment, and establish measures for effective detection of politically exposed persons/their family members/close associate, among others.
Uyi Akpata, the immediate past country partner at PwC, in his submission, assured the ICAN of the firm’s partnership to promote high accounting standards, enhance the competence of accountants, discourage the proliferation of accounting bodies, and strengthen the profession’s role in national development.