President Muhammadu Buhari has sent two bills to the National Assembly which are aimed at boosting the war against money laundering in the country.
The bills are titled, “The Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2016” and “The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2016.”
The letter to which the bills were attached was read by Senate President, Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara to legislators during the Assembly’s plenary session on Wednesday, January 27, 2016.
According to Buhari, the first bill seeks to repeal the existing Money Laundering Act to allow for stronger punishments against money launderers while the second will make provisions that will enable Nigeria seek international assistance in recovering looted funds.
The letter reads in part:
“This bill seeks to facilitate the provision and obtaining by Nigeria of international assistance in criminal matters, including the provision and obtaining of evidence and things, the making of arrangements for persons to give evidence or assist in criminal investigations, the recovery, forfeiture or confiscation of property in respect of offences…”
“It seeks to provide protection for employees of various institutions, bodies and professions who may discover money laundering and enhance customer due diligence.”
“It provides appropriate penalties and expand the scope of supervisory bodies. It also recognises the role of certain self-regulatory organisations to address the challenges faced in the implementation of comprehensive anti-money regime.”
Buhari has emphasized the commitment of his administration to rid Nigeria of corruption and has vowed to recover all stolen public funds no matter where they might be hidden.