President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, finally endorsed the Anti-Money Laundering Bill which has now become operational under the law.
The Bill amended the Money Laundering Act 2011, which mandates banks and other financial institutions to report any single transaction or lodgment above N5 million for an individual and N10 million for corporate bodies.
Going forward therefore financial institutions in the country must report such transactions to a department in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The newly signed Act is expected to help the country fight against corruption, money laundering and terrorism better.
Section 11(3) provides that any financial institution or designated non-financial business and profession that to submit a report of required transactions commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than N250,000 and not more than N1 million for each day the contravention continues.
President Buhari signs Anti-Money Laundering Bills into Law in State House on 12th May 2022
Section 12 prohibits the opening of numbered or anonymous accounts in fictitious names and shell banks.
It also provides that any person or financial institution that contravenes the provisions of Section 12 subsections (1), (2) and (3) commits an offence and is liable to imprisonment of not less than 2 years and not more than 5 years in the case of an individual; and a fine of not less than N10 million but not more than N50 million for a Financial Institution.
Principal officers involved in the case of a corporate organization will be prosecuted and the company wound up and prohibited from re-registering.
Section 13 of the bill mandates financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions to identify and asses money laundering and terrorism financing risks that may arise in relation to the development of new products and new business practices.
Some top government officials that were present when President Buhari assented to the bill include the Chairman ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanye, EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa, Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, COS Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, SGF Boss Mustapha, Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Chairman Senate Committee on Judiciary and Legal Matters Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, Chairman Senate Committee on Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes Senator Suleiman Abdu Kwari and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare as he signed Anti-Money Laundering.