• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Buhari seeks 7yr jail term for money launderers, N25m fine for financial institutions in new bill


President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking a seven year jail term without an option of fine for money launderers, and also proposing N25 million fine for financial institutions that contravene the new Money Laundering Bill currently before the National Assembly.

In the proposed law, seen by BusinessDay, the President is also seeking a minimum fine of N10 million to financial institutions that fail to report cash transactions to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Centre with any customer exceeding a prescribed amount.

Buhari, who had vowed to deal with those who had looted the treasury in the past and get them refund such funds, last week sought stiffer laws to fight corruption in the country in two separate bills he sent to the Nigerian Senate, specially seeking stiffer sanctions for corrupt cases.

The two bills: and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill 2016 were read on the floor of the upper chamber by Senate President Bukola Saraki yesterday. In one of the bills- Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2016, the President is also seeking a minimum 12 months imprisonment or a fine of not less than N1million to an officer of a financial institution that fails to report cash transactions to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Centre with any customer exceeding a prescribed amount.

The Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2016 actually seeks to repeal the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011; Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 as well as Section 12 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995.

According to the bill, an individual who conceals or disguises criminal property by concealing or disguising its nature, source, location, disposition or ownership risks a minimum of seven years imprisonment without option of fine; while financial institution and designated non-financial business and profession like hotels, casinos, super markets amongst others are liable upon conviction to a fine of not less than N25million and N10million respectively.

Part VII of the bill also provides for the establishment of the Bureau for Money Laundering Control responsible for the supervision of designated non-financial businesses and professions in their compliance with the Act when enacted.

Other designated non-financialbusinessesandprofessions listed in the bill include: automotive dealers; dealers in luxury items; law firms and notaries; tax consultants; estate developers; estate agents and brokers; consultants and consulting companies; mortgage brokers; non-profit, religious and charitable organisations and a list of others.

Section 31 of the bill provides that any person who opens an account at a financial institution in a fictitious name or produces false document in support of an application to open an account at a financial institution, is liable on conviction to not less than two years imprisonment and a fine of not less than N5million or both.

Also, any financial institution that provides financial services to person(s) with fictitious name is liable to a fine of not less than N10million and withdrawal of its licence to operate.

“If a person, who is known by more than one name, opens an account with a financial institution, the account shall bear all of the names by which the person is known.