The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, has issued a guideline directing that state governments are no longer allowed to withdraw or utilize money meant for the local councils using State, Joint Local Government Accounts, SJLGA.
A statement on Monday by the NFIU’s acting Chief Media Analyst, Ahmed Dikko, all financial institutions, public servants and other stakeholders are to comply with provisions of the guidelines beginning from June 1, 2019.
“To be precise, with effect from 1st June any bank that allows any transaction from any local government account without monies first reaching a particular local government account will be sanctioned 100%, both locally and internationally,” the statement read in part.
The statement further noted that investigation had uncovered that cash withdrawal and transactions of some of the SJLGA pose the biggest corruption, money laundering and security threats at the grassroots levels.
According to the anti-financial crime agency, “taking such measures was necessitated by prompting reasons on the NFIU to respond to threats of isolating the entire Nigerian financial system by other International financial systems because of deficiencies in our anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing implementation.
“Therefore, it is no longer possible to allow the entire system to suffer the deliberate and expensive infractions or violations by public officials and/or private business interests.
“Henceforth, all erring individuals and companies will be allowed to face direct international and local targeted sanctions, in order not to allow any negative consequences to fall on the entire country,” the agency noted.
The statement added that the new guidelines were backed by section 162 (6) (8) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended which states: “State Joint Local Government Account into which shall be paid allocations to the local government councils of the state from the federation account and from the government of the state”.
“The amount standing to the credit of local government councils of a state shall be distributed among the local government councils of that state and not for other purposes.”
“As far as the NFIU is concerned the responsibility of the account as a collection account is fully reinstated.”
“In addition, a provision is also made to the effect that there shall be no cash withdrawal from any local government for a CUMULATIVE AMOUNT exceeding N500,000 per day. Any other transaction must be done through valid cheques or electronic funds transfer.
“The complete guidelines have been released to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, and Chief Executive Officers of all Banks and other financial institutions.
“Any state government that is willing to seek any expert economic advice in the unlikely event of these guidelines constituting an inconvenience to the management of the state can work with the NFIU and /or CBN,” the statement added.