Nigerian banks in rush to implement anti-money laundering software

Nigerian banks in rush to implement anti-money laundering software

Unity Bank has become the third Nigerian bank in a month to announce it is implementing new anti-money laundering (AML) software, in this case from ACI Worldwide. This comes just weeks after the head of the country's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission visited the World Bank in Washington to talk up Nigeria's efforts to overcome its reputation as a haven for fraud, embezzlement and money laundering.

Unity Bank, based in Abuja, Nigeria, has selected ACI Proactive Risk Manager software to automate its procedures in order to comply with the national Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2004. Last week, ACI announced Zenith Bank had also licensed the same solution, making it the vendor's third customer in Nigeria alongside Access Bank.

In early April, First Bank of Nigeria acquired AML and fraud detection technology from i-flex Solutions subsidiary Mantas.

Unity Bank says it selected ACI to supply its Proactive Risk Manager system as the software is able to detect suspicious activity quickly, render threshold reports to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in an acceptable format, and effectively use neural networks, rules-based strategies and workflow management software. The solution is modular in design, so it can be expanded to include monitoring for issuer fraud and managing risk across the enterprise, with an account-based view of transactions.

Lamis Shehu Dikko, executive director risk management and control of Unity Bank, said, "It is vitally important that we protect our solid reputation as a financial partner in the niche markets we serve. The selection process to find a partner that has the experience of implementing a world-class solution to meet our stringent objectives was exhaustive."

Nuhu Ribadu, head of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, told website during his visit to Washington that within a short period of time the Commission and the NFIU have recorded an unprecedented number of convictions in a country that never had one before. "We have today well over 400 cases that we are prosecuting. We have recorded over 150 convictions. Our success record is very high - maybe as high as any law enforcement agency in the world. ... We have recovered billions and billions of dollars, returning it to victims of fraud all over the world and monies belonging to the government of Nigeria," he said.

"We are also trying to bring West African countries together to work in a collective manner, trying to address our own problems together. We formed an association called West African Anti-Money Laundering Group (GIABA), and it's beginning to show results. We share information; we share know-how. We want to operate collectively. That is the only way we can address the problem."

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