The Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has warned hotel owners to avoid being accomplices to internet fraudsters who check into their facilities.
The Zonal Commander of EFCC, Michael Nzekwe, gave the warning in Ilorin on Thursday while addressing a stakeholders meeting of Designated Non-Financial Institutions (DNFIs) at the commission’s office.
Nzekwe threatened that any hotel owner caught in the act of accommodating internet fraudsters for money laundering activities risked being prosecuted and jailed.
“The commission has observed a worrying pattern of hospitality by entrepreneurs with suspected fraudsters, by housing them over a long period and making internet facilities available to them.
“I hereby warn hoteliers against allowing cyber criminals into their facilities,” he said.
The zonal commander said that the act contravened Section 3 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.
He mentioned that the offence attracts a prison term of five and 15 years, without option of fine, for any person who permits his premises to be used for any offence.
Nzekwe said that the meeting was to sensitise stakeholders on the rising trend of the activities of fraudsters and the need to support the commission in the fight against corruption.
He said that ignorance was not an excuse under the law and urged hotel owners to always ask their customers for means of identification and fill their occupation as part of the check-in procedures.
The zonal commander implored hotel owners to support the commission with credible and actionable information, saying that such information when received would be treated with absolute confidentiality.
The president of Hotel Owners Association in Kwara, Dauda Akande, said that there were some challenges faced by hotel owners in dealing with customers, like concealment of identity by guests.
Akande said that the refusal of guests to disclose identity made it difficult for hotel owners to know who could be a fraudster before allowing them to lodge in their facilities.
He also mentioned that the safety of whistle blowers was important for security purposes with other challenges.
The immediate past Chairman of the Association, Isaac Adeyemi, commended EFCC for its professionalism and doggedness in the anti-graft war.
He pledged on behalf of others to support the commission in its bid to stem the scourge of corruption in Nigeria.