President Muhammadu Buhari has on Thursday, signed three new bills into law in Abuja.
Gatekeepers News reports that Buhari has signed into law, three bills aimed at improving the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing/proliferation financing framework in Nigeria.
The Presidential Spokesman, Femi Adesina who made this known in a statement said the bills are: the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022; the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022; and the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill, 2022.
At the signing ceremony at the Council Chamber, State House, President Buhari described the bills as being in tandem with this administration’s commitment to fighting corruption and illicit financing activities, as well as critical to the governance agenda and the development of Nigeria.
Adesina quoted his principal as saying, “The new laws have provided enough punitive measures and containment strategies against abuses and compromises.”
The President further noted that the inadequacy of all the repealed Acts had impacted legal actions against offenders.
“We will not rest until we rid the nation of the menace of money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes,” Buhari added.
The President commended the National Assembly for their tenacity, courage, and commitment to ensuring that Nigeria has put in place effective measures to address the menace of money laundering, terrorism, and terrorism financing.
He, therefore, noted that the 9th National Assembly has proven to be patriotic, responsive, resourceful, and industrious in its legislative assignments, stating how he had sought expeditious passage of the said Bills on January 14, 2022.
Buhari further lauded the Assembly under Senate President Ahmed Lawan and the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, and their colleagues for responding to his request, saying they “have certainly carved out a worthy legacy for themselves.”
On the importance of the legislation, the President said:
“The signing of these Bills into law today not only strengthens the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) framework in the Country but addresses the deficiencies identified in Nigeria’s 2nd round of Mutual Evaluation as assessed by Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa on compliance with the Financial Action Task Force global standards.
“Accordingly, the repeal of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and enactment of Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 provides comprehensive legal and Institutional Framework for the prevention and prohibition of money laundering in Nigeria and confers on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the legal status of the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering.
“The repeal of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 as amended in 2013, and enactment of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 provides for the effective implementation of international instruments on the prevention and combating of terrorism and suppression of the financing of terrorism.
“The enactment of the Proceeds of Crime (recovery and Management) Act, 2022 makes comprehensive provisions for the seizure, confiscation, forfeiture, and management of properties derived from unlawful activity.”
He noted that the executive arm of government “carefully avoided creating another asset recovery and management agency with its cost implications in deference to government’s sensitivity to the rising cost of governance.”
The President explained that the new law mandates the creation of dedicated accounts for the proceeds of crime and other confiscated assets to enhance the accountability of the process:
“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 and terrorism financing and proliferation financing in the Act.
“The primary objectives of these measures are to ensure 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 robust frameworks diligently enshrined in the Acts can only serve useful purposes when every bit of them is enforced.”
While stating that every Nigerian has a role to play to rid the country of corrupt practices, Buhari stressed that the fight against corruption requires an “All of Government, All of Nation approach.’’
He commended the members of the National Action Task Force comprising several Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government, noting that the bills are a clear demonstration of government functioning at its best with coordination, collaboration, and execution all towards a common goal.
The President further assured Nigerians that his administration will continue to do its best to secure the nation, adding that the bills signed into law represent not just legislative instruments but very significant governmental actions projecting courage, determination, and sincerity in tackling the menace of Money laundering, terrorism and other financial crimes.
The ceremony was attended by the Senate President and other Senators, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, Heads of anti-corruption agencies, including Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).