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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

FG Looks For Boko Haram Sponsors’ Assets

FG Looks for Boko Haram Sponsors’ Assets

The federal government has launched a massive search and freeze campaign for all assets of 13 alleged ‘Boko Haram’ sponsors who have been added to Nigeria’s blacklist of terrorists and terrorism sponsors.

A circular obtained yesterday indicated that the coordinated search for the assets of the 13 alleged sponsors of Boko Haram was sequel to their indictment and addition of their names to the Nigeria Sanctions List, a masterlist of all persons and institutions blacklisted for terrorism.

The Nigeria Sanctions List is under the supervision of the Nigeria Sanctions Committee, a multi-agency committee created by the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.

The search and freeze campaign involved all national enforcement agencies and the regulated private sector entities with specific mandate to immediately track, discover and freeze all funds, physical and financial assets, businesses, organisations and all other related entities to the 13 alleged Boko Haram sponsors.

Acting in concert with the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the coordinating secretariat of the Nigeria Sanctions Committee, Nigeria’s apex capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday directed all capital market operators to immediately search for and freeze all assets in the names of the 13 alleged Boko Haram sponsors.

The blacklisted alleged terrorism sponsors included 10 individuals and three entities. These include Abdurrahaman Musa Ado, Bashir Ali Yusuf, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, Muhammad Ibrahim Isah, Salihu Yusuf Adamu, Surajo Abubakar Mohammad, Fannami Alhaji Bukar, Muhammed Musa, Sahabi Ismail, Mohammed Saleh Buba, Alin Yar Yaya General Enterprises, Are Nigeria Limited and Suhailah Bashir General Enterprises.

The general use of “all capital market operators” and “stakeholders” virtually included all finance, investment and estate development professionals and businesses in Nigeria as well as all public and private businesses.

The list of capital market operators include banks, insurance firms, stockbroking firms, registrars, fund management firms, solicitors, accountants, auditors, issuing houses, venture capital, estate valuers and surveyors and commodities and securities exchanges among others.

According to SEC, pursuant to section 54 of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, all capital market operators and stakeholders are “required to immediately, identify and freeze, without prior notice, all funds, assets, and any other economic resources belonging to the designated persons and entities” in their possession and report same to the secretariat of the Nigeria Sanctions Committee.

The directive also required all operators and stakeholders to report to the Secretariat of the Nigeria Sanctions Committee, any assets frozen or actions taken in compliance with the designation, including attempted transactions.

The search and freeze campaign also mandated all operators and stakeholders to “immediately file a suspicious transactions report to the NFIU for further analysis on the financial activities of such an individual or entity; and report as a suspicious transactions report to the NFIU, all cases of name matching in financial transactions prior to or after receipt of the Nigerian Sanctions List”.

The directive subsequently prohibits “dealings with the designated persons and entities and to continue to check for transactions relating to the designated person or entity and the actions to be taken if funds or other assets or suspect transactions are discovered”.

According to the search and freeze campaign directive, the freezing obligation extends to “all funds or other assets that are owned or controlled by the designated person or entity, and not just those that can be tied to a particular act, plot, or threat of terrorism or terrorism financing; those funds or other assets that are wholly or jointly owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by designated persons or entities; the funds or other assets derived or generated from funds or other assets owned or controlled directly or indirectly by designated persons or entities; and funds or other assets of persons and entities acting on behalf of, or at the direction of designated persons or entities”.

The circular noted that the asset freezing mechanism is a preventive tool to disrupt terrorist support, stressing that “it is incumbent on financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions to comply with the asset freezing obligations, giving the potential of both criminal and civil liabilities for non-compliance, as well as the reputational risks for financial institutions and DNFBPs of being seen to be in breach of the asset freezing mechanism”.

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The interdiction also included total travel ban and arm embargo on all the designated persons, a directive being implemented by another inter-agency group, according to a source in the know of the proceedings.

The first six alleged sponsors of Boko Haram and the three enterprises had been tried and convicted by the Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal severally for collaborating with the terrorist group Boko Haram terrorist group of Nigeria by collecting money in Dubai and sending it to the group in Nigeria as well as providing sundry acts to aid terrorism.

The other four designated persons- Fannami Alhaji Bukar, Muhammed Musa, Sahabi Ismail and Mohammed Saleh Buba, who were believed to have been seized in Nigeria, were interdicted for being members of Boko Haram terrorist group, terrorism financing, received training, rendering support to the terrorist group, concealment of information, attending terrorist meeting and provision of facility in support of terrorist acts.

Source: thenigerialawyer

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