National Assembly suspends money laundering bill indefinitely




Friday, 13 August 2010


The House of Representatives has indefinitely suspended consideration on the anti-money laundering bill, which the president, Goodluck Jonathan, has twice urged a speedy delivery to, against a global deadline.


The House made attempts yesterday to discuss the bill, which is fashioned after the international framework against corruption, but deferred further action on it when members sought to limit some of its provisions.


The bill, which had gone through two readings and committee considerations, awaits a final plenary approval and third and final passage.


The Deputy Speaker, Usman Nafada, said the consideration will now be carried out on a “suitable date”, two days after the Senate also voted to debate the legislation on a further date.


The lawmakers’ decision came after receiving a fresh communication from Mr Jonathan, advising them against tampering with certain provisions of the proposal, and for a speedy delivery of the two bills which had already failed to meet an earlier June 30, 2010, deadline.


“The draft bills presented to the National Assembly are consistent and in compliance with global instruments, which Nigeria has signed and ratified,” the president said.


He said the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requires all member-states to model their domestic legislation in consonance with global best practices. Mr Jonathan said another meeting of the international body in September 2010, would welcome the delivery of the bill.


Curtail the powers


But during the House second emergency sitting Thursday, the lawmakers questioned certain provisions of the legislation, as earlier done by the senators, and sought to curtail the powers of the bill as presently stated.


Members particularly opposed the requirement that transactions with banks, by individuals to the tune of N5 million, and N10 million for corporate entities, be reported to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).


The lawmakers said the provision, and many others, deserve a review and should not be allowed straight passage as requested by Mr Jonathan.


Mr Nafada ruled that the bill be suspended to a further date, after unsuccessfully trying to secure the lawmakers’ support for it. The date may not be earlier than the chamber’s October 2010 resumption date, which will come after the next FATF meeting.


Source: Proshare



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