EFCC, AGF disagree as CBN, others kick against new money laundering laws

By Haruna Salami

The Central Bank of Nigeria Thursday kicked against plan by the Senate to enact new anti – money laundering laws without required amendment of the extant Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 2011.

This is even as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, disagreed on proposed establishment of Proceeds of Crimes Commission.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, represented by Chibuzor Anthony Efobi, Director Financial Policy, said “amendment of 2011 Act will better serve Nigeria than repeal and re-enactment of the law”.

Divergent positions of agencies of government on proposed legislations by the Senate came to the fore during the public hearing the Senate Joint Committees on Anti- Corruption and Financial Crimes , Judiciary , Human Rights and Legal Matters as well as Ethics , Privileges and Public Petitions had on three different anti-corruption bills.

The proposed bills are (i) Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) 2021, (ii) Public Complaints Commission (Repeal and Re-enactment) Bill 2022 and ( iii) Proceeds of Crimes (Recovery and Management) Bill 2021.

Emefiele’s representative said “Where the existing Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 2011, is repealed and re-enacted , there would be new legal foundations which have not been assessed against the FATF standards”.

This, according to him, opens the likelihood that the new law will be deficient in other areas not limited to the deficiencies identified in the Mutual Evaluation Report .

“Additionally , the new law will have to be completely reviewed by the FATF and GIABA for compliance with FATF recommendations .

“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. We have attached a copy of a proposed amendment to the 2011 Act for your consideration and necessary action”, he stressed.

On establishment of Commission for management of Proceeds of Crimes being sought “Proceeds of Crimes (Recovery and Management)Bill, while the Secretary of EFCC, George Ekpungu kicked against the proposal, the Deputy Director Legal Drafting from the office of AGF, Godwin Iheabunike , supported the proposal.

The EFCC Secretary in kicking against it said, it will amount to duplication of functions between the proposed commission and EFCC while the Attorney-General’s representative, said the commission was very necessary in tackling the new crimes.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the joint committee, Senator Suleiman Abdu Kwari (Kaduna North) said the proposed legislations were aimed at strengthening the fight against corruption in the country.