President Muhammadu Buhari has once again shown commitment to tackle corruption in all its form as he has sent a bill tagged “Money laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) bill, 2016” to the National Assembly.
The bill, among others, seeks the establishment of a Bureau for Money Laundering Control (BMLC) to tackle money laundering related cases in the country.
When established, the BMLC would ensure that all designated businesses and professions comply with the provisions of the money laundering act and exercise supervision.
The bill also seeks to grant full autonomy to the BMLC in the discharge of its functions and responsibilities, if established.
The bureau would be run through an advisory board to be headed by a chairman, who will be appointed by the president on the advice of minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the federation, Daily Trust reports.
Defining money laundering, the bill says; “a person who knows, ought reasonably to have known or suspects that property has a criminal origin, commits an offence if he conceals, disguises, converts, transfers or removes the property from Nigeria”.
“To conceal or disguise criminal property includes concealing or disguising its nature, source, location, disposition, movement or ownership or any rights with respect to it”, it stated.
It added that a person commits an offence if he enters into or becomes concerned in an arrangement which he knows, ought reasonably to have known, or suspects, facilitates by whatever means, the acquisition, retention, use or control of property that has a criminal origin by or on behalf of another person.
The bill further prescribed stiff penalty for anybody found culpable of money laundering and upon conviction, the person shall be liable of an imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years without the option of a fine.
Also, under the new law, any bank that is found guilty of money laundering offence would be liable to a fine of not less than N25m and a designated not-financial business and profession would get a fine of not less than N10m, if found guilty of similar offence.
It also prescribed three years imprisonment or above for any anybody that fails to report persons involved in money laundering.
It was learnt that the bill would be considered when the lawmakers resume plenary on Feb. 16.