To mitigate the risks of money laundering, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the weekend, announced it has developed a guidance on ultimate beneficial ownership of legal persons and legal arrangements.
This was even as the apex bank in a tweet via its verified page, reminded Nigerians that the old notes of N200, N500 and N1000 would cease to be legal tenders by the end of this month.
According to the circular which was directed to all deposit money banks (DMBs) and other financial institutions (OFIs), the bank noted that its Anti-Money Laundering, Combating the financing of terrorism and Counter proliferation financing of weapons of mass destruction in financial institutions Regulations for 2022, requires financial institutions to understand the structure of legal persons and legal arrangements and undertake customer due diligence measures to mitigate the risks of money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
It noted that consequently, financial institutions are required to unveil the beneficial owners of legal persons and legal arrangements in line with provisions of extant AML/CFT laws and regulations.
“Therefore, the CBN has developed a guidance on ultimate beneficial ownership of legal persons and legal arrangements to assist financial institutions in implementation of such measures.
The guidance is hereby released for immediate compliance by all financial institutions under the supervisory purview of the CBN”, the circular said.
Meanwhile, barely 14 days to the deadline set by the CBN, for stoppage of the circulation of the old Naira notes, there are strong indications that the apex bank will not extend the deadline.
When President Muhammadu Buhari launched the redesigned notes of N200, N500 and N1000 on November 23, 2022, the apex bank had set January 31 as deadline for all affected old currency notes to be deposited by customers in their various bank branches so as to pave way for the redesigned noted which began circulating on December 15, 2022.
However, since that date, bank customers have continued to lament the scarcity of the three denominations as banks continued to dispense the old notes, citing CBN’s inability to supply adequate volumes of the new ones for onward circulation to the business community and households across Nigeria. This development has led to calls for an extension of time to allow Nigerians access the newly redesigned notes. This was even as the Senate in a unanimous resolution urged the apex bank to extend the deadline for the return of the old currency from January 31, 2023 to June 30, 2023.
Several other stakeholders and prominent Nigerians have also made similar calls for the extension of the deadline. But the CBN via its tweet at the weekend, said, “A reminder to the general public that the old series of N200, N500 and N1000 notes would cease to be legal tender by January 31, 2023. You are once again advised to return them to your bank before the deadline”.