President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday requested the National Assembly to consider and approve Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2016 and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill 2016.
The bills are believed to be part of efforts by the Buhari administration to strengthen Nigeria’s legal framework to fight the scourge of corruption.
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, read the letters covering the bills at plenary on Wednesday.
Quoting the president’s letter, Mr. Saraki said the bill on money laundering sought to repeal the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011, and re-enact a more comprehensive legislation.
“This bill seeks to make comprehensive provisions to prohibit the laundering of the criminal activities, expand the scope of money laundering offences”, Mr. Saraki said.
“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 expands 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”, the letter, quoted by Mr. Saraki, read.
On the second bill – Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill 2016 – which seeks to get relevant international assistance in cases of money laundering, Saraki, quoting from the letter, said it is expected to provide framework for “other countries to assist in provision of and obtaining of evidence, making of arrangements for persons to give evidence”.
“The biIl also hopes to elicit international assistance in criminal investigations, recovery, forfeiture or confiscation of property in respect of offences.
“The restraining of dealings in property or the freezing of assets that may be recovered, forfeited or confiscated in respect of offences.
“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”, it read.