Politics

Controversy laid to rest as Buhari signs NFIU bill into law

Push to weaken Magu's grip on EFCC gains steam, as bill passes 2nd reading at senate

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the bill seeking to make the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) an autonomous body, finally laying to rest controversies surrounding its being a component of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), disclosed this while addressing state house correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday.

The NFIU would, as a result, seize to exist as a department in the EFCC.

“NFIU will now be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria, but as an autonomous and Independent body,” Enang said.

With the signing of the Act, NFIU has been empowered to receive currency transactions reports, suspicious transactions reports, currency declaration reports and other information relating to money laundering and extremists financing activities from financial institutions.

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The unit will also receive reports on cross-border movement of currency and monetary instruments, maintain a comprehensive financial intelligence database for information collection, analysis and exchange with counterpart FIUs and law enforcement agencies around the world.

The senate had passed the bill in July last year while the house of representatives passed it in March this year.

Magu had openly been opposed to the bill, claiming it was an attempt to sabotage the work of the EFCC, and also claiming the unit already operated independent of the commission.

Last year, Nigeria was suspended by the Egmont Group because of the “interference” of EFCC in the workings of the unit.

The Egmont Group is the global body responsible for setting standards on best practices for FIUs in over 131 FIUs from 131 jurisdictions.

It was founded in 1995 to foster international collaboration in the exchange of intelligence by member states.

 

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