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Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit, on Thursday, announced a ban on cash withdrawals from accounts belonging to the Federal Government, all its agencies, and also state and local governments.
NFIU said that the ban would take effect from March 1, 2023, adding that any government official that withdraws cash from public accounts risked being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, and the Nigeria Police Force in collaboration with the NFIU, depending on the gravity of the situation.
NFIU CEO, Moddibo Tukur, who addressed journalists in Abuja, said the ban was necessary to curb the rate at which monies are withdrawn from public accounts in flagrant disregard to the money laundering laws and sometimes for corruption purposes.
Tukur noted that the decision was in sync with the full transition of Nigeria into a cashless economy which the Central Bank of Nigeria has been leading.
According to him, all financial institutions have been instructed to stop cash withdrawals from government accounts from March 1, 2023.
He, however, warned that any government official who flout the order will be prosecuted alongside his or her accomplices.
The NFIU boss said, “The rate of withdrawals above the threshold from public accounts has been alarming, over N701billion has been withdrawn in cash from 2015 till date.
“The NFIU had told banks and government agencies at all levels to go fully digital by moving online, as all transactions involving public money must be routed through the banks for the purpose of accountability and transparency.
“This is not reversible as we are only enforcing the law. As far as we are concerned, Nigeria will become a full non-cash economy by March 1, 2023 this year. As a consequence, any government official that withdraws even one naira cash from any public account from March 1 will be investigated and prosecuted in collaboration with relevant agencies like EFCC, ICPC and the NPF.”
But Tukur added that the President is in the position to grant waivers to government officials based on considerations.
He said, “For government exigencies, only the President has the power to grant any waiver to any government official considering the importance of the situation; either for national security, health, or other important reasons.”
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