Policy and Regulations

Senate amends Money Laundering Act, banks to report deposits to EFCC

The Senate, on Wednesday, passed a bill to amend the Money Laundering Act 2011, which makes it mandatory for Deposit Money Banks and other financial institutions to report to the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, any single transaction or lodgements in excess of N5m for an individual, and N10m in the case of a corporate body.

The passage of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act (Amendment) Bill 2022 followed the consideration and adoption of the report by the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes on the bill.

Section 11(3) of the new Act prescribes that “Any financial institution or designated non-financial business and profession that contravenes the provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than N250,000 and not more than N1m for each day the contravention continues.”

Section 12 also prohibits the opening of numbered or anonymous accounts in fictitious names and shell banks.

It provides that any person or financial institution that contravenes the provisions of Section 12(1), (2) and (3) commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than five years in the case of an individual; and a fine of not less than N10m but not more than N50m for a financial institution, in addition to the prosecution of the principal officers of the body, and winding up and prohibition of its constitution or incorporation.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Suleiman Abdu Kwari, in his presentation, said the bill seeks to repeal the institutional and legal framework on money laundering prohibition in Nigeria.

Kwari said it would “provide for an effective and comprehensive legal framework to reinvigorate the fight against money laundering in the country by leaning more on prevention as a useful tool to strengthen the existing legal regime in combating money laundering and other related crimes in the country.”

According to the chairman, the re-enactment bill provides appropriate penalties and expands the scope of supervisory bodies to effectively address the challenges faced in the implementation of anti-money laundering laws in Nigeria.

The bill was passed by the upper chamber after consideration by the Committee of the Whole.

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