Senate Passes Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit Bill

Senate Reps agree to move NFIU to CBN

Reps pass bill seeking to make NFIU autonomous

Chairman of the House Committee on Financial Crimes, Mr. Oladele Kayode, said that the powers of the EFCC would be whittled down when the NFIU law becomes operational.

DAILY POST reports that the EGMONT Group is a network of 152 member countries that share information relating to criminal intelligence and financial information.

Ekweremadu commended Senate and the House of Representatives Committees on Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption for the report which would ensure Nigeria is not expelled from the EGMONT Group.

The Senate and House of Representative conference committee have agreed to domicile the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), it was learnt Tuesday.

Ahead of its meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, between March 11 and 16, Nigeria is expected to make NFIU independent in order to avoid expulsion.

The senate had passed the bill in July, but it was put on hold at the house of representatives.

Utazzi said the bill seeks to establish a financial intelligence agency that will be autonomous from the control of the EFCC as it is at present.

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If expelled, the country will suffer a blacklist in the global finance sector and Nigerian Banks will be unable to issue Mastercard and Visa credit/debit cards while card transactions with Nigerian originated cards will be blocked.

The group reportedly demanded autonomy for the NFIU as a condition for the suspension to be lifted.

Before now, it was gathered that Egmont suspended NFIU because EFCC, was allegedly leaking sensitive information to the media.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, after the passage, urged the executive to speedily assent to the bill to forestall Nigeria's expulsion from the Egmont Group.

The NFIU is to be a directorate to be headed by a director to be appointed by the president on the recommendation of the minister of justice and attorney general of the federation, subject to confirmation by the senate.

Only last week, Utazi accused his counterpart in the House of attempting to derail the process of having a legal framework that would guarantee independence of the NFIU.

Both lawmakers, according to Senator Utazi, however, met on Monday evening and came up with the report.

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