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One year after the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN), imposed a ban on digital currencies, anti-fraud experts have advised the federal government to reconsider its stand, while proposing more rigid compliance to stop crimes.
The financial experts gave the advice at the fifth annual Anti-Fraud Conference of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, ACFE lagos chapter, which was conducted virtually. In the presentation, Senior Partner, Financial Forensic at A&D Forensics, Adedeji Owonibi insisted the government to come up with strict laws and regulations in order to fight the illicit activities on cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms rather than imposing a ban on digital crypto money services.
According to Owonibi, the Central Bank of Nigeria must dedicate more time and resources to guide as well as monitor financial institutions’ activities, quoting that a lot of financial service providers still provide cryptocurrency services secretly regardless of being banned by the government. To overcome market exploitation, the experts require banks to play their role, onboard certified fraud experts, and CFEs with the tech-driven tools to determine the unusual patterns in cryptocurrency transactions.
He said, “more than before, financial institutions need to identify and report suspicious activities on how criminals and other actors exploit cryptocurrency for money laundering, sanction evasion and other illicit financial purposes. This applies to all financial institutions regardless of whether they directly buy, sell, provide custody or have virtual currency exchange as customers. More so, both banks and practitioners must be able to identify accounts operated by Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) and conduct enhanced due diligence on customers’ accounts transacting with VASPs.”
In addition to this, the 2nd First Vice President of ACFE, Dr Titilayo Fowokan highlighted that digital currencies have become a global concern that can’t be stopped by imposing a local ban on them.
She maintained: “Rather than the ban on cryptocurrency, CFEs can do a lot to help the government detect and curb fraudulent practices within the digital economy. The fact that most transactions pass through the banking system gives an opportunity for tracking fraudulent practices through cryptocurrency activities.”
Furthermore, the association’s 1st Vice President, Don Ogbonnaya restated the need for the financial firms to integrate rigid checks and control measures along with the ongoing document examination as the essential part of the internal audit programme.