The Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, has said that cryptocurrency transactions is an easy way to perpetrate Criminal Acts.
Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria banned all financial institutions in the nation from transacting in cryptocurrencies and to also block accounts of deterrents.
The development attracted lots of criticisms among Nigerians and financial analyst.
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During a presentation before the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions during its hearing on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to stop financial institutions from transacting in cryptocurrencies. The ICPC boss aired his opinion on the development.
He said the anonymity of cryptocurrency can be leverage upon by criminals to perpetrate evil.
Prof. Owasanoye said “Virtual and cryptocurrencies pose serious legal and law enforcement risks for Nigeria. The current National Identification Number registration and linking with SIM cards is a pointer to the fact that insurgents, terrorists, kidnappers, bandits, and drug merchants have used the anonymity of unregistered SIM cards to commit their crimes with relative ease.
“Cryptocurrencies guarantees similar anonymity and can easily be used as leverage for terrorist financing and other crimes. With the NIN registration, cryptocurrencies may become an alternative payment platform for kidnappers and this would be impossible for law enforcement to agencies to trace.”
The chairman also made a reference to a pending criminal case of a suspect who used serpentine ICT-aided transfer schemes to transfer a large fund.
According to him the virtual means used has made the criminal mastermind invisible and unidentified while other persons whose accounts were used have been located.
Other risks identified by Prof. Owasanoye include: risk to lose finance of government, risk of theft of cryptocurrencies, abuse as medium of payment for hackers and ransomeware, risk of exit scams, risks of use of crypto assets for ponzi schemes, risks of tax evasion, and risk as a source of corruption-linked illicit financial flows.
He added that the regulation of cryptocurrencies by the Central Bank of Nigeria will be unsuccessful because they are issued by private entities, which are foreign, and not issued or regulated by the bank.