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Buhari Sends bill to Senate, Seeks More Powers for EFCC, ICPC



IN an attempt to strengthen the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday wrote the Senate, seeking to enact the Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2016 and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill 2016.

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Reading the letter, Senate President Bukola Saraki said the bill provides for the repeal of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended in 2012.

The proposed money laundering bill seeks to provide adequate penalty for money laundering while also increasing the scope of anti-money laundering agencies.

“This bill seeks to make comprehensive provisions to prohibit the laundering of the criminal activities, expand the scope of money laundering offences.

“It seeks to provide protection for employees of various institutions, bodies and professions who may discover money laundering, enhance customer due diligence. It provides appropriate penalties and expand the scope of supervisory bodies.

“It also recognizes the role of certain self-regulatory organisations to address the challenges faced in implementation of comprehensive anti-money regime,” says the bill.

The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill 2016 seeks to secure the help of international assistance on money laundering.

The bill is expected to provide a framework for other countries to assist in the provision of and obtaining of evidence, making of arrangements for persons to give evidence.

“The bill also hopes to elicit international assistance in criminal investigations, recovery, forfeiture or confiscation of property in respect of offences.

It also sought assistance in “the restraining of dealings in property or the freezing of assets that may be recovered, forfeited or confiscated in respect of offences.

The bill also seeks the execution of request for search and seizure, the location and identification of witnesses and suspects, the service of documents and other matters connected herewith.

The agreement Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, will also allow the United Arab Emirates (UAE)government return monies hidden or invested in banks and real estates in the country. This is the first executive bill by Buhari.

The existing Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act in place was signed into law in 2004 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. It was considered as one of his major achievements.