President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday, transmitted the Money Laundering and Terrorism Prevention bills to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.
The bills are revised versions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Bill, and Terrorism (Prevention) Bill currently pending before the National Assembly
The bills were sent alongside a letter addressed to the leaders of the National Assembly, who read it in the two chambers.
In the letter dated April 12, 2022, Buhari said the request for the passage of the two bills was pursuant to the provisions of Section 58(2) of the Constitution and that the deficiencies in Nigeria’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism regime (AML/CFT), make it imperative for the passage of the bills.
The President’s bills come about three weeks after the Senate amended the Money Laundering Act 2011, which makes it mandatory for banks and other financial institutions to report any single transaction or lodgement in excess of N5 million for an individual, and N10 million in the case of a corporate body.
This report will be done in writing and sent to a proposed Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering – to be domiciled under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Unless these deficiencies are addressed promptly by the National Assembly in order to bring the legal regime in conformity with the United Action Task Force recommendation, Nigeria will face the risk of negative public statement; blacklisting the country by Financial Action Task Force, and this will lead to some negative consequences to our rapidly growing economy.
Deficiencies in anti-money laundering
In his letter, Buhari warned that the non-passage of both bills poses a risk that may lead to the eventual blacklisting of Nigeria by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The letter reads in part: “Pursuant to section 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I forward therein, with Money Laundering Bill, and Terrorism Prevention Bill 2022 for the kind consideration of the House of Representatives.
“During the recent mutual evaluation carried out by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa, there were observed deficiency in the Nigeria’s anti-money laundering; combating (terrorism). Following the review, the Ministry of Justice and relevant stakeholders reviewed the said deficiencies and drafted the Money Laundering Bill 2022, and Terrorism Bill 2022.
“Unless these deficiencies are addressed promptly by the National Assembly in order to bring the legal regime in conformity with the United Action Task Force recommendation, Nigeria will face the risk of negative public statement; blacklisting the country by Financial Action Task Force, and this will lead to some negative consequences to our rapidly growing economy.
“In the light of the above, the Federal Ministry of justice reviewed the money laundering bill and terrorism prevention bill currently pending before the National Assembly and have come up with versions of the bills, incorporating the deficiencies by the mutual evaluation report.”