On Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari pledged to rid Nigeria of the threat of money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes.
Three bills aimed at enhancing Nigeria’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist funding and proliferation financing framework were signed into law by the president in Abuja.
Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill 2022, Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill 2022, and Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill 2022 are the three bills.
The measures, the President said at a signing ceremony in the Council Chamber of State House, are in line with this administration’s determination to fight corruption and illicit finance, as well as important to Nigeria’s governance agenda and development.
The new laws have offered sufficient punitive measures and containment methods against abuses and compromises, “according to him, saying that the repealed acts’ insufficiency had harmed judicial actions against offenders.
We won’t stop until money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes are no longer a threat to the country, he said.
President Buhari praised the National Assembly for not giving up and working hard to make sure that Nigeria has taken effective steps to fight money laundering, terrorism, and the funding of terrorism.
The President stated that the 9th National Assembly has demonstrated patriotism, responsiveness, resourcefulness, and diligence in its legislative tasks, noting that he had requested fast adoption of the abovementioned bills on January 14, 2022.
He praised the Assembly’s response to his request and said that Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, and their colleagues have clearly made a great name for themselves.
While talking about the significance of the laws, the President noted that the signing of these bills into law today not only strengthens Nigeria’s anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) framework, but it also addresses the deficiencies identified in Nigeria’s 2nd round of Mutual Evaluation, as assessed by the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa on compliance with the Financial Action Task Force global standards.
As a result, he said, the repeal of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended, and the enactment of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022, provide a comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the prevention and prohibition of money laundering in Nigeria and confer the legal status of the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The repeal of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011, as amended in 2013, and the enactment of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition) Act of 2022 ensures the effective implementation of international instruments on terrorism prevention and combat, as well as the suppression of terrorism financing, as Buhari detailed.
The Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act of 2022 has a lot of rules about how to seize, confiscate, forfeit, and manage properties that were gained through illegal activity.
President Buhari told the Senate President and other Senators, as well as the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and the heads of anti-corruption agencies such as the ICPC and the EFCC, that the executive arm of government carefully avoided creating another asset recovery and management agency with its cost implications in deference to the government’s sensitivity to the rising cost of governance.
He said that the new law requires the creation of special accounts for the proceeds of crime and other assets that have been taken from criminals. This is to make the process more transparent:
“I have therefore taken time to note the emphasis placed on collaboration, synergy, and unification of strategies and measures to combat the scourge of money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing in the Act.
“The primary objectives of these measures are to ensure an effective, unified, and comprehensive legal, regulatory, and institutional framework for the implementation of the Acts.”
“This is profound and calls for coordinated responses to the challenges posed by the menace.” I therefore charge all relevant agencies to ensure effective implementation of these new laws.
The strict rules that were carefully written into the Acts can only be useful if they are all followed.
He praised the members of the National Action Task Force, who came from different government ministries, departments, and agencies. He said that the bills are a clear example of government at its best, with coordination, collaboration, and execution all working toward the same goal.
The President assured Nigerians that his administration will continue to do everything possible to keep the country safe, noting that the bills signed into law are not just legislative instruments but also very significant governmental actions that demonstrate courage, determination, and sincerity in combating the threat of money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes.