WorldStage Newsonline-- A bill seeking to establish Nigerian Financial Intelligence Centre to combat money laundering and terrorist activities scaled second reading in the Senate on Thursday.
Lar , Chairman, Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes who strongly supported the passage of the bill noted that as the Senate debates the bill, “Nigeria is on the Financial Action Task Force targeted list, a list of countries that are considered “unsafe or high-risk jurisdiction” due to certain observed institutional and operational deficiencies.
He noted that the implication of being on the list is that Nigerian businessmen and women seeking financial instruments and facilities outside the country or from international financial institutions cannot get them.
He listed some observed operational and institutional deficiencies to include deficient ant-money laundering Act, weak ant-terrorism Act, absence of an independent financial intelligence unit, absence of mutual legal assistance Act, absence of Proceed of Crime/Asset recovery and management body and absence of Whistle Blowers Act.
Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba in his lead debate noted that financial intelligence is a law enforcement strategy employed by governments the world over to gather information in relation to cash and currency transactions in financial system within and across national boundaries.
Ndoma-Egba said that such information gathering is necessary to understand the nature and capabilities of financial transactions as well as to predict their intentions and take pro-active steps to prevent negative consequencies.
He noted that currently, the country has Financial Intelligence Unit domiciled within the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as an autonomous unit.