Money laundering: CBN opposes new laws

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The Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday kicked against plans by the Senate to enact new anti-money laundering laws without required amendments on the existing Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 2011.

The 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 as well as Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.

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.

Emefiele was represented by a Director in the bank, Mr Chibuzor Efobi.

He said that an amendment of the existing Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 2011 would better serve the interest of Nigeria than a 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“Where the existing Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 2011 is repealed and re-enacted, there would be new legal foundations which have not been assessed,” he said.

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

“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 said.

On his part, Secretary of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr George Ekpungu, said the EFCC was opposed to the proposed commission for management of proceeds of crimes.

Ekpungu said that the bill would amount to duplication of functions between the proposed commission and EFCC.

However, Deputy Director Legal Drafting from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Godwin Iheabunike, supported the proposed commission for management of proceeds of crimes.

Earlier in his remarks, Chairman of the joint committee, Sen. Suleiman Kwari, said the proposed legislations were aimed at strengthening the fight against corruption in the country.