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Buhari Seeks Stiffer Penalties For Money Laundering

As Senate Sets To Pass 2016 Budget February 25

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari in his first executive bills to the National Assembly on Wednesday, has sought for more potent laws against money laundering and criminal matters in the country.

The President in a letter to the Senate President , Bukola Saraki which was read on the floor of the Senate, sought for expeditious consideration of the two bills for more potent war against financial crimes in the country.

On the first bill titled: ” The Money Laundering ( Prevention and Prohibition ) Bill 2016″ President Buhari said the bill which provides for the repeal of the Money Laundering ( Prohibition Act) 2011 as amended in 2012, seeks to make comprehensive provisions to prohibit the laundering of the criminal activities, expand the scope of money laundering Offences.

It also seeks to provide protection for employees of various institutions , bodies and professions who may discover money laundering , enhance customer due diligence, provide appropriate penalties and expand the scope of supervisory bodies whilst recognizing the role of certain self – regulatory organizations to address the challenges faced in the implementation of comprehensive anti- money laundering regime in Nigeria.

Buhari on the second bill titled: ” The Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill 2016″ seeks to facilitate the provision and obtaining by Nigeria of International assistance in criminal matters, including the provision and obtaining of evidence and things for the making of arrangements for persons to give evidence or assist in criminal investigations.

It also seeks for recovery, forfeiture or confiscation of property in respect of offences; 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.

Meanwhile the Senate yesterday fixed February 25, 2016, for passage of the N6.08trillion 2016 budget proposal.

This was sequel to conclusion of debate on general principles of the budget estimates by Senators yesterday and passed for second reading.

Addressing the newsmen on how the bill would be treated at committee level, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central), said the Senate at closed door session held before plenary session yesterday, had resolved to suspend plenary session from Tuesday, February 2, 2016 to Tuesday February 23 2016 for budget considerations at committee levels , after which it would be laid on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, 24th February and consider for passage on Thursday , February 25th 2016.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks after the passage of the budget for second reading , warned members of the various committees against collecting bribes from officials of Ministries and parastatals.

He said: “Let me sound serious warning to Chairmen and members of our various committees not to be involved in money for budget Defence with officials of the MDAs , so as to sustain the integrity of the 8th Senate”

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