Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday sent a letter to the Senate, seeking to enact Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2016, as well as Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill 2016.
Reading the letter, the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, said that the proposed Bill provides for the repeal of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011, as amended in 2012.
The Bill also seeks to provide adequate penalty for money laundering, while also increasing the scope of anti-money laundering agencies.
“This Bill seeks to make comprehensive provisions to prohibit the laundering of the criminal activities, expand the scope of money laundering offences. It seeks to provide protection for employees of various institutions, bodies and professions who may discover money laundering, enhance customer due diligence.
“It provide 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 implementation of comprehensive anti-money regime,” it read.
The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill 2016, on its part, seeks to get relevant international assistance in cases of money laundering.
The Bill 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 Bill also hopes to elicit international assistance in criminal investigations, recovery, forfeiture or confiscation of property in respect of offences,” it read.
It also sought for some assistance.
“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.
Earlier on the day, the Senate began the Plenary with an hour-long executive session, where the legislators discussed issues relating to the ongoing consideration of the 2016 Budget.
It would be recalled that Buhari, during his recent visit to the United Arab Emirate (UAE), signed an agreement with the UAE government on repatriation of stolen funds.
The UNION reports that the agreement: Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters, will also allow the UAE government return monies hidden or invested in banks and real estates in the country.