Emefiele, Bawa condemn Senate’s money laundering bills

Emefiele, Bawa condemn Senate’s money laundering bills

The Central Bank of Nigeria and the Economic Crimes Commission have kicked against the plan by the Senate to enact new anti-money laundering laws without required amendments on the existing Money Laundering ( Prevention ) Act 2011.

CBN governor Godwin Emefiele made the position known during a public hearing in Abuja organised by Senate Joint Committees on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and the Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

“There will be a risk that the international assessment identifies new gaps, which would lead to rating downgrades. Consequently, the CBN is opposed to the passage of the proposed bills for the repeal and re-enactment of the existing Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 2011,” he argued.

The public hearing was on three bills (Money Laundering [Prevention and Prohibition] Bill, 2021, Public Complaints Commission [Repeal and Re-enactment] Bill, 2022 and Proceeds of Crimes [Recovery and Management] Bill 2021.

Mr Emefiele was represented by CBN director Chibuzor Efobi. He said an amendment of the existing Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 2011 would better serve the interest of Nigeria than repeal and re-enactment.

“Where the existing Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 2011 is repealed and re-enacted, there would be new legal foundations which have not been assessed,” he added.

According to him, there is the likelihood that the new law will be deficient in other areas not limited to the deficiencies identified in the Mutual Evaluation Report. 

Similarly, EFCC’s secretary, George Ekpungu, said the EFCC was opposed to the proposed commission to manage the proceeds of crimes. Mr Ekpungu noted that the bill would amount to duplication of functions between the proposed commission and EFCC.

However, the deputy director of legal drafting in the office of the attorney general of the federation, Godwin Iheabunike, supported the proposed commission to manage the proceeds of crimes.

According to the joint committees’ chairman, Suleiman Kwari, the proposed legislation aimed to strengthen the fight against corruption in the country.

(NAN)

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