The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Thursday, signed into law, three bills; 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.
According to a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the pieces of legislation are meant to improve the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing/proliferation financing framework in the country.
The statement was titled, ‘In the renewed fight against money laundering, terrorism and other financial crimes, President Buhari signs three bills into law.’
Speaking at a signing ceremony at the Council Chamber, State House, the President described the bills as being in tandem with his regime’s commitment to fighting corruption and illicit financing activities, as well as critical to the governance agenda and the development of Nigeria.
He said, “The new laws have provided enough punitive measures and containment strategies against abuses and compromises.
“We will not rest until we rid the nation of the menace of money laundering, terrorism, and other financial crimes.
“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.
He added, “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.”
He said 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 for the prevention and combating of terrorism and suppression of the financing of terrorism.
The President told those in attendance 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.”
He explained that the new law mandates the creation of dedicated accounts for the proceeds of crime and other confiscated assets in order 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.