Buhari assents to Financial Intelligence Unit Bill

July 12th, 2018

By Chesa Chesa

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday signed into law the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Bill recently passed by the National Assembly.

Before now, the NFIU was part of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), as the Nigerian arm of the global Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) as required by Recommendation 29 of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Standards and Article 14 of United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

The NFIU seeks to comply with international standards on combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism and proliferations, check suspicious transactions, as well as check terrorism financing.

The Egmont Group into which the NFIU was admitted in 2007 is the global body responsible for setting standards on best practices for FIUs in over 131 jurisdictions.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, who announced Buhari’s signing of the law, told State House correspondents in Abuja that “the agency is independent and operationally autonomous body institutionally domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“This Act dissolves the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit established in the EFCC Act and consequentially amends the Economic and Financial Commission Act, the Money Laundering {Prohibition) Act among others.

“One of the key objectives of the Act is the creation of a legal, institutional and regulatory framework to ensure transparency, effective and efficient and management administration and operation of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence unit.

“Also the bill will institutionalize best practices in financial intelligence management in Nigeria and strengthen the existing system for combating money laundering and associated predicated offences, financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

“The Act which makes the unit an autonomous body, makes provision for the unit to exchange information with financial intelligence institutions or similar bodies in other countries in matters relating to money laundering, terrorist financing activities and other predicated offences..

“Some of the functions of the Unit are to: receive request analyse and disseminate financial intelligence reports on money laundering, terrorist financing and other relevant information to law enforcement, security and intelligence agencies and other relevant authorities.

“Receiving and collect currency transactions reports, suspicious transactions reports and any information including records of wire transfers relevant to money laundering, financing of terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and associated predicate offences from financial institutions, designated non-financial institutions, law enforcement agencies, security agencies and relevant regulatory and administrative authorities,” he said.

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