The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has requested that the National Assembly pass legislation regulating cryptocurrency trading in order to prevent criminals from utilizing it to commit terrible crimes.
Kidnappers and bandits are now using the medium to commit high-profile crimes such as money laundering and ransom payments for kidnappers, according to the anti-graft agency.
Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the Chairman of the ICPC, stated this during the opening ceremony of a two-day capacity building retreat with National Assembly and ICPC Board/committee directors on the theme of “Corruption, IFFS, and financing for national development,” which took place on Tuesday at Watbridge Hotels and Suites Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom State.
He claimed that legal loopholes and a lack of regulatory framework have enabled criminals to defraud unsuspecting members of the public and engage in illegal cash flow.
“Regulatory intervention in cryptocurrency trading is required,” he stated. Some people have utilized digital assets and currencies to engage in massive corruption, money laundering, and terrorism financing.
“Corruption in digital assets is difficult to track. For example, if someone steals billions of Naira and quickly converts it to cryptocurrency, it’s nearly impossible to track.
“This isn’t the type of account that you can easily put on hold. Before you can freeze an account, you’ll need to know the account’s name, BVN, and other details. However, in cryptocurrency, all you have is your wallet, and no one knows your identity. Those that assisted in the money conversion do not have a registered organization. These are the items that make money laundering and terrorism easier.
“It’s also used to fund kidnappings. Consider how difficult it is to track a kidnapper who takes a ransom and changes it to digital currency.
“Cryptocurrencies have become an alternative payment platform for kidnappers, and law enforcement agencies would be unable to track them.
“Unlike a bank depository scheme, where your money is insured in the event of any unforeseen event, many people have lost money through cryptocurrency trading.
“What insurance do you have if you lose money in cryptocurrency?” Who do you think is to blame? You don’t even know who created digital currency, so who is guaranteeing it? They are unidentified.”
The retreat, according to Owasanoye, was organized by the commission to allow it to interact with legislators and inform them of some of the commission’s issues as well as update them on its accomplishments.
“We hope that this retreat will be impactful and provide us with the opportunity to interact with our oversight committee, who will ask questions about what we are doing, and we will be able to talk to them about what we are doing, our challenges, and areas in which they should be shining their searchlights as legislators; it will be a symbiotic and positive interaction,” he added.
Chairman of the House Committee on Anti-Corruption, Garba Shehu, also spoke, saying that the House had made fighting corruption one of its essential tasks and that the House would work with the ICPC to further the fight against corruption.