Revision Date: 25th July 2017
APPROVAL SHEETPOLICY OWNER: Blockvila
Implementation Responsibility: Compliance Officer
Custodian: Anti-Money Laundering Department ,Blockvila.
Operating Jurisdiction: All Domestic and International operations.
Review Frequency: 3years or earlier if required
Review Responsibility: Anti- money laundering Department , Blockvila.
Approval date: 26th July 2017
Effective date: 27th July 2017
President & CEO
Slogan for Blockvila”Your satisfaction is our priority”
ABBREVIATIONS USED IN AML/CDD/CFT POLICY.
|CFT||Combating Financing of Terrorism|
|FATF||Financial Action Task Force|
|MLRO||Money Laundering Reporting Officer|
|PEPs||Politically Exposed Person/td>|
|BOD||Board of Directors|
|OFAC||Office of Foreign Assets Control|
|MSB||Money Service Business|
|CDD||Customer Due Diligence|
|EDD||Enhanced Due Diligence|
|SDD||Simplified Due Diligence|
Blockvila is a Subsidiary of NYXEL INTEGRATED SERVICES a company registered with CAC in Nigeria, Headquartered in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
Blockvila is a leading and most trusted digital financial service provider; it is an independent ecurrency service provider in Nigeria with a well-known brand locally with a substantial international presence.
To protect itself from the increasing danger of organized criminal activity, Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing. It is essential for Blockvila to have a clearly laid down “ Anti- Money Laundering” (AML) / “Customer Due Diligence” (CDD)/ “ Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) policy to ensure that e-e-currency exchangers remain protected from the menace of money laundering and is not used by existing and /or prospective customers for any criminal activity.
1. METHODOLOGY1.1 OBJECTIVES OF AML/CDD/CFT POLICY
The objective of this policy is to ensure that the products and services of Blockvila are not used to launder the proceeds of crime and that all of Blockvila staff is aware of their obligations and the need to remain vigilant in the fight against money laundering /terrorist financing. The document also provided a framework to comply with applicable laws. Regulatory guidelines specially related with detection and reporting of suspicious activities. In case of any clarification contact AML Department of Blockvila using [email protected]
The policy is applicable to all domestic and international operations including banks and financial institutions. Particular attention shall be paid to customers oversea located abroad who do not or insufficiently comply with FATF recommendation. Furthermore, AML/CFT policies shall be applied to all customers outside and in Nigeria to the extent that laws and regulations of Nigeria permit.
1.3 ADMENDMENT AND UPDATES
Amendment and updates to this policy shall be approved by the president on pre-facto basis on the recommendation of the Compliance Officer. All such amendment and updates shall be subsequently ratified by the Board.
Deferral against procedure requirement can only be allowed by CO under special
Respective relationship management and operational staff will be responsible for monitoring
regulation of the deficiency before expiry of deferrals.
Policy Coverage will include
- Compliance with AML Act 2010
- Compliance with Regulations on AML/CDD/CFT
- Compliance on AML/CDD/CFT and subsequent updates
- FATF Recommendations
- Standards and guidelines including sanctions as applicable
1.5 MONEY LAUNDERING
Money Laundering is the criminal practice of processing ill-gotten gains or “ dirty “ money, through a series of transactions ,so that they appear to be the proceed from legal activities , It is also the process of changing the identity of illegality obtained money by using banking channels so that it appears to have originated from a legitimate source.
The Global Definition of Money Laundering: It is a process of transforming the profits of crime and corruption into ostensibly “legitimate “assets …. Some countries define money laundering as obfuscating sources of money , either intentionally or by merely using financial systems or services that do not identify or track sources or destinations.
Also Money Laundering is the process of creating the appearance that large amount of money obtained from serious crimes, such as drug trafficking or terrorism activity, originated from a legitimate source.
1.6 STAGES OF MONEY LAUNDERING
Money Laundering can be a diverse and often complex process. The first step in the
process by the criminal is to attempt to get the proceeds of their crimes into a bank or
financial institution, sometimes using a false identity. The funds can further be
other accounts, locally or internationally or used to buy goods or services. It eventually
be like legally earned money and become difficult to trace back to its criminal origin. The
criminal can then invest or spend it or as is often the case, used in funding more crimes.
The laundering process is often takes place in three(3) stages
- 1. Placement
- 2. Layering
- 3. Integration
At this stage, illegal funds or assets are first brought into the financial system.
When illegal funds
are place into the financial system, they become more liquid. there are numerous
techniques including but not limited to the following:
- Alternative Remittances
- Electronic Transfers
- Assets Conversion
- Bulk Movement
- Securities Dialing
Smurfing involves the deposit of small amounts of illegal cash into accounts. Typically, smurfing deposits are in small amounts in order to avoid Regulatory requirements of reporting cash transactions.
Alternative Remittances: It refers to the transfer of funds through “alternative” or illegal money transfer system. These systems are unregulated and illegal, but they are used to transfer both legitimate and illegal funds. Alternatively, Remittances also go by the names of underground or parallel banking. There is very large network of these system in operation around the World.
Electronic Transfer: In the money laundering context, an electronic transfer involves the transfer of money through electronic payment systems that do not require sending funds through a bank account. If the amount is below the CTR (Cash Transaction Reporting) limit then it will not be reported as per prevailing regulations.
Asset Conversion: This simply involves the purchase of goods, illegal money is converted into other assets , such as real estate, diamonds, gold and vehicles, which can then be sold and proceeds can be deposited in the account.
Bulk Movement : It involves the physical transportation and smuggling of cash and monetary instrument /such as money orders and cheques .
Securities Dealing : Illegal funds are placed with securities firm which are used for buying bearer securities and other easily transferable instruments.
This is the second stage of money laundering. In this stage, illegal funds or assets
dispersed and disguised to conceal their illegal origin. There are numerous
institutions that facilitates layering including the following.
- Offshore Banks
- Shell Corporations
- Walking Accounts
Offshore Banks: These banks accept deposit from non-resident individuals and Corporations. A number of countries have well developed offshore banking sectors; in some cases combined with loose antimoney laundering regulations.
Shell Corporations: A shell corporation is a company that is formally established under applicable corporate laws, but doesn’t actually conduct a business instead, it is used to engage in fictitious transactions or hold accounts and assets to disguise their actual ownership.
Trusts: Trusts are legal arrangement for holding specified funds or assets for a specified purpose. These funds or assets are managed by a trustee for the benefit of a specified beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts can act as layering tools as they enable creation of false paper trails and transactions. The private nature of trusts make them attractive to money launders.
Walking Accounts: This is an account for which the account holder has provided standing instructions that upon receipt, all funds should be immediately transferred into one or more accounts. By setting up a series of walking accounts, criminals can automatically create several layers as soon as any fund transfer occurs.
Intermediaries: lawyers, accountants and other professionals may be used as intermediaries or middlemen between the illegal funds and the criminal. Professionals engage in transaction on behalf of a criminal client who remains anonymous. The transaction may include use of shall corporations, fictitious records and complex paper trails.
This is the third stage of money -laundering process. In this stage, illegal funds
legitimized by mixing with legitimate funds in the financial system.
There are various integration techniques including the following:
- Import/Export Transactions
- Business Recycling
- Asset sales and purchases
- Credit and debits cards
- Corporate financings
Import/ Export Transactions to bring illegal money into the criminal’s country of residence, the domestic trading company will export goods to the foreign trading company on an over-invoiced basis. The illegal funds are remitted and reported as export earnings. The transaction can work in the reverse direction as well.
Business Recycling legitimate businesses also serve as conduits for money laundering. Cash intensive retail businesses, real estate. jewelers, and restaurants are some of the most traditional methods of money laundering. This technique combines the different stages of the money laundering process.
Asset Sales and Purchases: This technique can be used directly by the criminal or in combination with shell corporations, corporate financings and other advanced means. The end results is that the criminal can treat the earnings from the transaction as legitimate profits from the sale of the real estate or other assets.
Consultants The use of consultant in money laundering scheme is quite common .The consultant could be fake as the criminal himself could be the consultant .In this case, the criminal is channeling money back to himself .This money is declared as income from servicer performed and can be used as legitimate funds.
Credit and Debit Cards : Credit Cards, This are effective ways for launders to integrate illegal money into the financial system .By maintaining an account in an offshore jurisdiction through which payments are made , the criminal ensures there is limited financial trails that leads to his country of residence.
Debit Cards individual first transfer illegal funds into an offshore account and also signs up for a debit card from the bank to utilize the funds.
Corporate Financings: Corporate financing are typically combined with a number of other techniques, including use of offshore banks , electronic funds transfers and shell corporations.
The three basic stages may occur as separate and distinct phases. They may also occur simultaneously or, more commonly, may overlap.
1.7 SOURCES OF MONEY LAUNDERING
Money Laundering may not just involve wealth related to Drug Trafficking / Terrorism
Financing. List of
crimes identified by financing Action Task Force (FATF) as generators of criminal wealth
- 1. Illegal arms sale
- 2. Gun running
- 3. Organized crimes including drug trafficking and prostitution
- 4. Embezzlement
- 5. Smuggling (including movement of nuclear materials)
- 6. Counterfeiting (including making of imitation and copies of original products/goods)
- 7. Fraud, especially computer-supported fraud
- 8. Benefiting from insider trading
- 9. Bribery and kickbacks
- 10. Tax evasion
- 11. Under and over – invoicing of trade transactions
- 12. Bogus trade transactions to launder money through round -tripping
- 13. Facilitating illegal immigration
- 14. Real Estate transactions
1.7 TERRORIST FINANCING
Terrorist Financing can be defined as the financial support, in any form, to terrorism or of those who encourage, plan, or engage in terrorism. A terrorist group, like any other criminal organization, builds and maintains an infrastructure to develop sources of funds and channel them to those who provide materials and or services to the terrorist organization.
1.8 THE NEED TO COMBAT MONEY LAUNDERING (ML) AND TERRORIST FINANCING (TF)
The prevention of ML and TF from the point of view of the Bank has three dimensions:
- Ethical - Taking part in the prevention of crime
- Professional – ensuring that the Bank is not involved in recycling the proceeds of crime that would call into question its reputation, integrity and, if fraud is involved, its solvency.
- Legal - Complying with laws and Regulations that impose a series of specific obligations on financial institutions and their employees.
- -Unexplained changes in supply and demand for money
- -Volatility of capital flows and exchange rates due to un-anticipated cross border
- -Contamination of legal financial transactions,
- -Threat to the functioning of economy’s financial system,
- -Systematic risk,
- -Unlawful enrichment by perpetrators of crime,
- -Dampening effect on foreign direct investment,
- -Weakening of the social, collective ethical standards,
- -Drug trafficking, Human Trafficking
- -Political Corruption,
- -Terrorism crimes cause a great deal of human misery,
- -Prudential risks to bank soundness arising from these developments.
1.9 REGULATORY OVERSIGHT & COMPLIANCE RISKS
Blockvila has used guidelines and International Regulatory guidelines/ standards as
applicable to formulate its own AML/CDD/CFT policy. The consequences of contravening the
Regulations or failing to comply can be significant and include disciplinary measures,
imprisonment or fine or both under local laws as well as the loss of reputation for the
Notwithstanding the statutory and regulatory penalties, increased vigilance by management
staff will protect Blockvila from the following risks:
Reputational Risk: The reputation of a business is usually at the core of its success. The ability to attract good employees, customers, funders, funding and business is dependent on reputation. Even if the business is otherwise doing all the right things, if customers are permitted to undertake illegal transactions through that business, Its reputation could be irreparably damaged. A strong AML/CDD/CFT policy helps to prevent a business from being used as a vehicle for illegal activities.
Operational Risk: This is the risk of direct or indirect loss from faulty or failed internal processes, management and systems. In today’s competitive environment, operational excellence is critical for competitive advantage. If AML/CDD/CFT policy is faulty or poorly implemented, then operational resources are wasted, there is an increased chance of being used by criminal for illegal purposes, time and money is then spent on legal and investigative actions and the business can be viewed as operational unsound.
Legal Risk: If a vehicle is used as a vehicle for illegal activity by customers, its faces the risk of fines, penalties, injunctions and even forced discontinuance of operations.
Financial Risk: If a business does not adequately identify and verify customers, it may run the risk of unwittingly allowing a customer to pose as someone he/she is not. The consequences of this may be far reaching. If a business does not know the true identity of its customers, it will also be difficult to retrieve money that the customer owes.
LEGAL AND REGULATORY OBLIGATION
2. LEGAL/ REGULATORY OBLIGATIONS2.1 LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
Blockvila is obligated to comply with the requirements of the AML law and with the relevant provisions of Financial service/ Banking Act as and when they are promulgated. In addition, Blockvila under the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997 and control of Narcotics Substance Act 1997 is obligated to take prompt and immediate notice of all unusual or large transactions in customer account, which apparently have no genuine economic or lawful purpose. Oversea customers should follow regulations of the host country under relevant legislations.
2.2 REGULATORY OBLIGATIONS
Under Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) and International Regulations there are personal
obligations on every member and staffs to report suspicious activities. If a person is
aware or suspects that a transaction or instructions is related to any crime, he/she must
report the transaction to Blockvila compliance even if he /she is not directly handling
the transaction, instruction or funds in question.
Blockvila itself Has Similar Obligations.
It is a regulatory requirement for a financial service / institution to have in place policy and procedures to combat money laundering /terrorist financing. The policy/ procedures as a minimum must include:
- Setup a compliance Unit with a full time CCO/CO
- The verification of new client’s identification, CDD (Know Your Customers) profiling, update customer’s information and record at reasonable intervals
- Risk- based controls
- Awareness arising and training of staff members
- Recognition and Reporting suspicions of money laundering / terrorist financing.
- Retention of records
- Independent testing (Internal/ external Audits):
- CCD Measures for Occasional Customers/ walk -in customers
- Handling wire transfers/ funds transfers
- ML/CFT threats that may arise from the use of new or developing of new products and technologies.
Oversea customers and subsidiaries of Blockvila should follow the host country /state regulatory requirement. Moreover, if their host country requirement conflicts with the AML/CFT requirements of Blockvila, the subsidiaries branch of Blockvilas shall report to the Head office which will comply with such further directions as may be issued.
It is criminal offence if management or staff:
- 1. Acquire proceeds of a crime or assist anyone whom they know or suspect has
committed, or benefited from any criminal conduct. (Acquire, possess &
- 2. Prejudice an investigation by informing the suspect of a suspicion, or any
third party that a disclosure has been made either internally or externally ,or
that the authorities may act or propose to act or investigate .(Tip off)
- 3. Acquire knowledge or a suspicion, or has reasonable grounds to know or
suspect, that benefit has been gained from criminal conduct or that the
proceeds of crime have been laundered, and have not reported the same as
soon as possible. (Failure to Report)
- 4. Have not implemented effective systems, controls and procedures to guard
against money laundering. (System &Controls)
2.3 NOTES ABOUT MONEYLAUNDERING ACT 2011
The Nigerian Government has put massive focus on the anti- corruption fight , and the Money laundering ( prohibition )Act 2011 ( and the amendment to the act in 2012) is a big part of this fight .CAP ON CASH TRANSACTIONS
The money laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 makes it illegal for any individual to accept or make cash payment that exceeds N5M (Five Million Naira). This means that every cash transaction over N5m must be done via a financial institution/ service.
The penalties: Any person guilty of contravening is liable to imprisonment for the term of not less than 3years or a fine of N10m (Ten Million Naira) or to both.
DECLARATION WHEN TRANSPORTING CASH OVERSEAS
The Money Laundering (prohibition) Act 2011 states that any individual who is transporting cash or negotiable instrument in excess of US$10,000 or its equivalent must be declared to the Nigerian Custom Service.
The penalties: Non- declaration of funds or false declaration is an offence that is punishable upon conviction by the individual forfeiting the funds in question or to imprisonment of not less than 2years or to both.
DATA RETENTION BY FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS AND DESIGNATED NON- FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
The Act provides that the above institutions shall keep record of a customer’s identification for a period of at least 5 years after the closure of the account or the severance of relations with the customer.
This therefore means irrespective of the fact that you have closed your account or dealings with the above institutions, they are still obliged by law to keep a record of your details.
Blockvila’S POLICY FOR AML/CDD/CFT
3. Blockvila’S POLICY FOR AML/CDD/CFT
Keeping in view the Global threat, Blockvila has taking various steps to counter the menace of money laundering and terrorist financing. Blockvila is stringently focusing on core compliance functions and has adopted a robust policy across the network to remain compliant with AML/CFT regimes in all jurisdictions.
It is the policy of Blockvila that:
- Statutory, regulatory and legal obligations to prevent ML and TF are fully complied with.
- Systems and controls are implemented and reviewed on set frequency in other to minimize the risk of Blockvila’s services being abused for the purposes of ML and TF
- A money laundering risk assessment of Blockvila’s services and customer base including correspondent banks and MSBs (Money Service Businesses) are undertaken and appropriate policies, procedures and due diligence controls are applied proportionate to that risk.
- Blockvila would not do business with :
- Individuals /entities subject to UN sanctions
- Individuals /entities under Nigeria’s sanction as applicable
- Unauthorized Money changers/prize bond dealers
- Anonymous Customers
- Customers hiding beneficial ownership of account
- Client or business segment black listed by Blockvila, banks, or by Regulators
- Shell banks and offshore corporate clients
- Government officials willing to open government accounts in their own names.
- To carry out enhanced due diligent before establishing relationships with the following High risks customers
- Trusts, NGOs, NPOs, Foundations, Welfare Association, Religious Entities, Clubs, Societies, Financial Institution, Authorized Money Exchange Companies , controversial entity, jewelers ,Arms Dealers.
- Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs)
- Correspondent Relationship
- Customers using their personal accounts for business transactions
- Private Banking customers
- Institutions/individuals whose association could be considered controversial
- Any individual or entity that that has caused or has been related to a credit, operational or reputational loss.
- Account of foreign nationals belonging to sanctioned countries
- Non- face to face / online customers,
- Walk in customers
- Non-resident customers
- Customers in cash based business
- High risk geographies
- Customers reportedly having previous unsatisfactory/suspicious social status
- High net worth customers with no clearly identifiable source of income
- Legal persons or arrangements that are personal asset holding vehicles
- There is a doubt about the veracity or adequacy of available identification data on the customer
- Any customer relationship where the customer’s conduct gives Blockvila reasonable cause to believe or suspect involvement with illegal activities is required to be reported to the Regulators or relevant authorities.
- In countries like Nigeria where local regulators all for a money laundering compliance reports, respective country MLROs are responsible for preparation and submission of these reports, CCO, CO would submit a quarterly compliance report (including significant AML/CFT issues) to Board Audit Committee
- Management shall establish criteria of identifying and assessing ML/FT risks that may arise in relation to new products, services, business practices and delivery mechanics including the review of existing products and services on on-going basis.
3.2 CUSTOMERS DUE DELIGENCE (CDD)
CDD is closely associated with the fight against money- laundering. Supervisors around
the World are increasingly recognizing the importance of ensuring that their financial
service have adequate controls and procedures in place so that they know the customers
with whom they are dealing. Adequate due diligence on new and existing customers is a
key part of these controls. Without this due diligence, financial service /banks can be
exposed to reputational, operational, legal and financial risks.
It is a policy of Blockvila that:
- Prior to establishing a relationship with a new customer , basic background information about the customer should be obtained including identifying the customer and verifying the customer’s identity on the basis of documents, data or information obtained from customer and /or from reliable and independent sources, furthermore , understanding and , as appropriate , obtaining information on the purpose and intended nature of the business relationship, information related with customer’s business and source/ utilization of funds and the expected level of activity.
- Blockvila shall take reasonable measures to identity and verify identities of beneficial owner(s) in relation to a customer. Furthermore, in case of a legal person , trust or similar legal arrangement , measures shall be taken to understand the ownership and control structure of the legal person or entity.
- Customer’s profile must be updated periodically based on the risk profiling of the customer. Customer activity must be monitored against a pre- determined profile on ongoing basis , paying special attention to higher risk customers or activities, furthermore , to take prompt action when there is material departure from usual and expected activity through regular matching with information already available with a financial service as Blockvila.
3.3 AML/CDD/CFT ASSOCIATED POLICIES.
Following associated policies form an integral part of the AML/CDD/CFT policy and have been developed specifically to achieve the objectives outlined in Blockvila’s policy and the regulatory requirements of the Financial Monitoring Unit.
3.5.1 Internal Control Compliance and Audit.
It is a policy of Blockvila:
- To design and implement processes, systems, and controls to comply with all applicable AML/CFT Laws and regulations.
- To conduct risk assessment and develop risk profiles of Blockvila’s customers, products and services and to apply appropriate policies and procedures to manage such risks.
- To undertake due diligent of high risk customers
- AML/CFT policy duly approved by their Board of Directors shall be
circulated down the line to each and every business location and concerned
employees for meticulous compliance. The detailed procedures and controls
shall be developed by the financial service in the light of policy approved by
To conduct risk assessment and develop risk profile of Blockvila’s customers, products and services and apply appropriate policies and procedure to manage such risk. Risk profiling of customer shall be based on various factors including customer, product and services, delivery channel and geography.
3.5.2 Recognition and Reporting of Suspicion
It is a policy of Blockvila :
- To establish and follow procedures that require employees to report promptly any suspicious activity to Blockvila for further review.
- To act competently and honestly when assessing information and circumstances that may give reasonable grounds to suspect Ml and TF.
- To provide MLROs with its request access to all customers information that are within the possession of Blockvilas.
- To co-operate with law enforcement authorities to investigate possible ML and TF within the conflicts or the applicable laws, and in consultation with Blockvilas.
- To comply with provisions AML/ CFT Act, rules and regulations issued there under transactions in the context of Money Laundering or financing of terrorism.
- Not to alert or provide any information to any person regarding suspicious or inquiry on his/her account or transactional activities or any indication of being reported to Regulators.
3.6 AWARENESS ARISING FROM TRAINING
It is a policy of Blockvila:
- To make all management and staff aware of what is expected of them to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing and to advise them of the consequences for them and for Blockvila if they fall short of that expectation.
- To chalk out and implement suitable training programs for relevant employees, in other to effective implement the regulatory requirement and Blockvila own policies and procedures relating to AML/CFT. Furthermore, management shall pay special attention to comprehensive AML/CFT computer -based / online training program.
- The management and staffs are required to sign a memorandum confirming they have read and understood Blockvilas’s AML/CDD/CFT policy and procedures. Changes made on set frequencies or on adhoc basis to this policy should be communicated to staffs.
3.6 RECORD KEEPING
It is the policy of Blockvila :
- To retain identification and transaction documents for the minimum period as required by applicable laws and regulations.
- To be in position to retrieve record that are required by law enforcement agencies for their investigations.
- To keep record of AML/CDD/CFT training provided to the employees, nature of the training and the names of staffs who received such trainings.
3.7 NON-COMPLIANCE OF Blockvila’S POLICY
Failure to abide by the policy set by Blockvila to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing will be treated as a disciplinary issue. Any deliberate breach will be regarded as Gross misconduct. Such case will be referred to HR which could lead to termination of employment and also result to criminal prosecution and imprisonment for the concerned staff.
3.8 ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILTY 3.8.1 The Board of Blockvila is Responsible for :
- To ensure that adequate system and control are in place to deter criminal activity, money laundering and terrorism financing.
- Approval of appropriate policy of AML/CDD/CFT on recommendation with management along with periodic reviews of the same with necessary updating.
3.8.2 Blockvila’s Compliance/ MLRO are responsible for :
- Developing and maintaining policy in line with evolving statutory and regulatory obligations.
- Undertaking the required money laundering/ terrorist financing risk assessment for customers, products and services.
- Developing and ensuring that the internal procedure stays up to date at all times.
- Monitoring and identifying transactions of suspicious nature and making sure to report such transactions to the Regulators on a timely manner.
- Ensuring that staffs are aware of the specific obligations and adequate training in prevention of ML/TF.
- Preparing quarterly report of AML compliance for onward submission to the Board Audit Committee.
3.8.3 ALL Employees Are Responsible for:
- Remain vigilant to the possibility of money laundering and terrorist financing through use of Blockvila’s products and services.
- Complying with all AML/CFT policies and procedures in respect of customers identification, record keeping, reporting and account monitoring.
- Employees who violate all the regulations of AML/CDD/CFT procedures and policies will be subject to disciplinary actions.
If you have any questions or comments about these our policy as outlined above, you can contact us at:
20 Mbonu street, Dline, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.