SCUML is an acronym for Special Control Unit against Money Laundering. It is one of the key departments of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria’s anti-graft agency.
SCUML is headed by a director who reports directly to the Chairman of EFCC.
This post sheds light on the key functions of SCUML, its origin, and its roles in Nigeria’s fight against corruption, illicit funds, embezzled money, and questionable transactions.
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In another explanatory post on how businesses can register and obtain SCUML certificate, we pointed out that SCUML monitors financial transactions of Designated Non-Financial Institutions (DNFIs) or Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs).
According to the Anti-Money Laundering, Combating the Financing of Terrorism and Countering Proliferation Financing of Weapons of Mass Destruction for Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions, and Other Related Matters) Regulations, 2022, DNFIs are companies, Businesses or entities that could receive cash in excess of NGN10 million or NGN5 million, depending on the business type.
Origin of SCUML
The Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (“SCUML”) was a brainchild of the administration of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (former Nigeria’s president).
It came into existence in September 2005 as a department under the EFCC in compliance with the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004.
The Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004 was later repealed and became the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011(as amended).
In a situation whereby DNFIs failed to declare such funds and the purpose it is meant, it is one of the functions of SCUML to step in and make such persons face the full wrath of the law, especially if such funds are illicit or proceed from corruption or for terrorism financing.
Businesses or companies that are categorized as DNFIs include sellers of expensive jewelry, auto dealers, real estate companies and importers and exporters of precious stones among others.
Before we highlight the roles of SCUML in the fight against illegal funds in Nigeria, it’s imperative to know where its offices are located and past and present directors of SCUML from 2005 till date.
Where are SCUML offices located?
The Special Control Unit against Money Laundering is headquartered in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Other SCUML offices are in nine cities (states). They are:
15, Awolowo Road,
Ikoyi, Lagos, Lagos State.
No 8 Bank Road,
Off Moscow Road,
Port Harcourt Rivers State.
Plot 106 Federal Government College Road,
Independent Layout, Enugu State
GP 360 Bida Road,
Civic Center, Kano
No. 4 Wurno Road, Badarawa,
Kaduna, Kaduna State, Nigeria.
No 4 EFCC Street,
New G.R.A, Gombe State.
16, Rev Oyebode Crescent Iyaganku,
G.R.A, Ibadan Nigeria.
No. 2 Court Road, By Reservations Road, GRA, Oka, Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.
Plot 80 Baba Shehu Lamin Street,
Opposite Elkanemi College,
Tudun Wada Layout
Maiduguri, Borno State Nigeria.
Operation of SCUML:
For effective implementation of anti-money laundering law in Nigeria, SCUML is subdivided into five units.
- Registration and Outreach Programme;
- Compliance & Enforcement;
- Information & Data Management;
- Legal Services and Cooperation
- Finance and Administration
Past and incumbent SCUML directors
Since its establishment as a critical department of the EFCC, SCUML has produced 10 directors till date.
The pioneer SCUML director was Norman Sixth Wokoma. He was succeeded by Theophilus Akinbo.
The third director of SCUML was Ayo Peter Olowonihi. Angela Nworgu took charge after Ayo.
Following that order, Binta A. Rano became the fifth SCUML director. She was succeeded by Bala S. Sanga.
Francis Usani was the eight director of SCUML. He was preceded by Bsmanga Bello (7th).
Daniel Isei is the incumbent SCUML Director and 10th in that order. Daniel succeeded Hanafi Baba Ahmed.
Having said that, it is imperative to mention the key roles of SCUML and its mandate in exposing illicit or corruption-linked funds.
What are the key roles of SCUML
Here are the 11 functions of SCUML. They play these roles in fight again money laundering in Nigeria in helping EFCC to actualize its core mandate:
1) To collect Cash based transaction reports (CBTRs) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs).
2) To update the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) by forwarding transaction and currency reports collected from DNFBPs to NFIU.
3) To register and issue certificates of compliance to Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPs).
SCUML certificate of registration is issued to DNFIs in accordance with the provisions of Section 5 (1) (a) and (4) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011.
These companies or businesses are required by the EFCC regulations 2022 to declare excess funds.
4) Monitoring the financial activities of DNFBPs is one of the key functions of SCUML to ensure that inflows and outflows are legal transactions.
5) To enlighten companies and businesses classified as DNFBPs on the guidelines on Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022 to ensure that they abide by the provision of the law in financial transactions.
6) It is the role of SCUML to inspect DNFBPs at their designated office as it appears on their official business registration address.
The visit may be unannounced. This falls under its off-site and on- site, and spot checks role.
7) To implement to the letters the provisions of EFCC Act 2022.
8) To maintain an up-to-date database of DNFIs including their financial records in order to maintain compliance in combating Money laundering.
9) To strategically follow trends and patterns in money laundering and terrorism financing to help it take actionable enforcement against illicit funds.
10) To work and collaborate with financial institutions, the Department of State Security, the Police, and other stakeholders in finance and security so as to ensure compliance with anti-money laundering law within the DNFIs sectors in Nigeria.
11) To carry out financial criminal investigations on DNFBPs suspected to have violated the provisions of the law.
Of all the functions of SCUML in Nigeria, its success relies on the level of smooth collaboration with stakeholders in Nigeria.
For instance, SCUML needs 100% cooperation of banks to avoid actions that could thwart its fight against financial crimes.
It also needs the untainted cooperation of other security agencies in arresting owners of businesses that use their entities for illicit funds.