President muhammadu Buhari signed three bills into law on Thursday in Abuja to improve the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing/proliferation financing framework in Nigeria.
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.
The President explained that the news laws conformed with the administration’s commitment to end corruption and illicit financing activities in the country.
Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesperson, said “The new laws have provided enough punitive measures and containment strategies against abuses and compromises”, noting that the inadequacy of all the repealed Acts had impacted legal actions against offenders.”
On the importance of the legislations, 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 for 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”.
“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 the 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.”
Stressing that the fight against corruption requires an “All of Government, All of Nation approach,” the President affirmed that every Nigerian had a role to play to rid the country of corrupt practices.
Meanwhile, report has it that the government has widened the definition of what it considers to be an Act of terrorism under the newly enacted Terrorism Prevention And Prohibition Act 2022 to reflect contemporary issues the government is dealing with.