Legal compliance, consulting, and anti-money laundering professionals explored potential solutions for Nigeria’s removal from the greylist — a term indicating that a country lacks sufficient measures to combat financial crimes.
This discussion took place at the 5th Annual Investigations, Compliance, and Ethics (I.C.E) Summit, hosted by Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie, under the theme ‘Optimising Business in Greylisted Regions: Advanced AML Practices & Transparent Beneficial Ownership in Nigeria and Beyond.’ The summit featured prominent experts who shared valuable insights and perspectives.
In her address, Adeola Sunmola, partner at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie and the panel’s moderator highlighted the role of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in monitoring global money laundering and terrorism financing activities.
She stressed the implications of Nigeria’s inclusion on the FATF greylist and the importance of adopting global standards to mitigate money laundering and terrorism financing risks. Sunmola also mentioned that the panel would draw insights from Mauritius, a nation that successfully exited the greylist.
Also at the summit, Pattison Boleigha, Managing Director of Pattison Consulting Limited and former Group Chief Compliance Officer at Access Bank Plc, addressed the uncertainties introduced by greylisting, which impact investor decisions and risk assessments. “These uncertainties increase regulatory compliance risks and compliance costs for businesses in grey-listed countries, thus deterring foreign investment,” he said.
In her speech, Bunmi Odufuwa, Chief Compliance Officer at Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria, discussed Nigeria’s proactive measures to address greylisting. She highlighted the requirement for companies to disclose their ultimate beneficial owners (UBO) as a significant step in Nigeria’s commitment to removing itself from the FATF greylist. Odufuwa pointed out the benefits of UBO disclosures, including enhanced confidence among foreign investors seeking to do business in Nigeria, emphasising the need for robust policies, due diligence on customers, and collaboration between the public and private sectors.
Furthermore, Chizokam Okadigbo, Associate Director of Forensics at Deloitte, stressed the importance of building a strong online presence and adhering to comprehensive anti-money laundering compliance frameworks. She said “for a culture of compliance within organizations, emphasizing record-keeping, employee training, and alignment with global compliance standards.
Providing insights into the impact of greylisting on a country’s international reputation and investor perception, Alexander Booth, Associate Managing Director at Kroll, pointed out that being greylisted does not signal the end of the world and cited examples of other developed countries on the FATF grey list, such as the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.
On her part, Shianee Calcutteea of Bowmans, Mauritius, shared the negative impact of Mauritius’ greylisting on its economy and discussed the successful action plan that led to the country’s removal from the greylist. She highlighted the collaborative efforts of both the public and private sectors in achieving this goal.