The Central Bank of Nigeria has advised all banks to update alert protocols in their Anti – Money Laundering/ Combating the Financing of Terrorism monitoring tools, in line with the red flags and emerging trends arising from the COVID – 19 related financial crimes .
It said this in a circular titled ‘Administrative letters to all banks and other financial institutions ’ issued on Monday , which was signed by the Director , Financial Policy and Regulation Department , J. M . Gana.
The regulator said changes in the trends of business activities and financial transactions precipitated by COVID – 19 pandemic inadvertently led to increase in financial crimes globally .
This therefore required financial institutions to adapt rapidly and keep abreast with emerging risks and other developments while taking proactive steps to address the new and emerging ML / TF , it stated .
The circular said this included investing in robust data mining and artificial intelligence software to monitor transactions and also report suspicious transactions .
The CBN said the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit , as the central repository of suspicious transactions and other financial information , had issued an advisory based on comprehensive analysis of STRs and other information available to it .
It said the advisory identified increased financial crimes such as cybercrimes , frauds , counterfeiting and substandard goods, diversion of public funds and misuse of non – governmental organisations funds .
Some vulnerabilities and red flags highlighted in the advisory were e-commerce merchants with little or no history or Internet presence suddenly receiving multiple payments from unrelated third parties.