… Lobby for swift prosecutions against money launderers, terrorist financiers

Of Fred Itua, Abuja

The The Senate passed on second reading two critical bills aimed at facilitating the swift prosecution of money launderers and terrorist financiers in Nigeria.

Once passed, the bills would also provide the framework needed to prosecute officials with unexplained sources of wealth.

The bills are the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2021 and the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill, 2021.

The two bills that escalated second reading in plenary yesterday, were sponsored by Senators Suleiman Umar and Suleiman Kwari.

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Leading the debate on the general principles of the first bill, Senator Umar explained that the legislation sought Repeal the existing law and enact the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2021 to provide a more comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the prevention and prohibition of money laundering in Nigeria.

The lawmaker said the bill took into consideration changing patterns and manifestation of money laundering as an offense, which included investments or transfers of funds made or obtained fraudulently in legitimate businesses to make illicit funds difficult to trace.

He said the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UN-ODCCP) (1999) describes money laundering as the concealment or disguise of the true nature, source, location, disposition , rights of movement or ownership of goods, knowing that these goods derive from an offense.

He therefore said the bill, once enacted, would provide the framework for prosecuting officials with unexplained sources of wealth.

“… Many officials charged with managing public funds for the benefit of society as a whole are often accused of setting up shadow companies, overvaluing contracts, using facades to pay for unfulfilled or poorly executed contracts while d ‘others have been accused of taking huge sums of public funds and putting them in foreign bank accounts. It is in this context that successive administrations have paid attention to the prevention, prohibition and repression of money laundering, ”said Umar.

The lawmaker gave some of the earliest legislation introduced in Nigeria to address the threat of money laundering, including Money Laundering (Exchange Control (Anti-Sabotage) Decree No. 7 of 1984; Decree No. 48 of 1989 from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (now CAP 29 Act of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2003 and the Money Laundering Decree). silver n ° 3 of 1995.

He said the flaws and shortcomings of previous money laundering laws led to a series of legislative reforms that culminated in the enactment of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011.

He said the bill under consideration, however, sought to repeal and enact provisions for comprehensive and effective anti-money laundering legislation, taking into account the evolving patterns and techniques currently used by businesses. money launderers in today’s global village, driven by technological advancements.

After consideration, the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill of 2021 and the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) (Repeal and Reconstitution) Bill of 2021 were both returned by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Combating Money Laundering. Corruption and Financial Crimes for more information.

The committee chaired by Suleiman Kwari had four weeks to report to the upper legislative chamber.

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