Senate Passes Bill To Amend Money Laundering Act

On Wednesday, the Senate passed a bill that seeks to amend the Money Laundering Act 2011.

The proposed amendment in the bill makes it mandatory for banks and other financial institutions to report any single transaction or lodgment in excess of N5 million for an individual, and N10 million in the case of a corporate body.

This report will be done in writing and sent to a proposed Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering – to be domiciled under the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

The bill tagged “Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) (Enactment) Act 2022” is sponsored by Abdu Kwari (APC, Kaduna).

Prior to Wednesday’s passage of the bill, the sponsor, had said it would help in the fight against corruption, money laundering, and terrorism especially since the extant Money Laundering Act could not meet the required international standard.

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 offense 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.

The bill in Section 12 also prohibits the opening of numbered or anonymous accounts in fictitious names and shell banks.

It provides that any person or financial institution that contravenes the provisions of Section 12 subsections (1), (2), and (3) commits an offense 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, in addition to the prosecution of the principal officers of the body, and winding up and prohibition of its constitution or incorporation.

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And Section 13 of the legislation further mandates financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions to identify and assess the money laundering and terrorism financing risks that may arise in relation to the development of new products and new business practices.

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