Buhari seeks stiffer laws to fight graft

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday sought stiffer laws to fight corruption in Nigeria in two separate bills he sent to the Senate.

The two bills: Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Bill 2016 and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill 2016, were read on the floor of the Senate by Senate president, Bukola Saraki.

The new bills are coming few days after Nigeria signed agreement with the United Arab Emirates to enhance government fight against corruption.

The Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition seeks to repeal the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 and makes comprehensive provisions to prohibit the laundering of criminal activities; expand the scope of money laundering offences and provides protection for employees of various institutions, bodies and professions who discover money laundering.

The bill, Buhari said, also enhances customer due diligence; expands the scope of anti-graft agencies like Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), while recognising the role of certain self-regulatory organisations to address the challenges faced in implementation of comprehensive anti-money regime.

Similarly, the President noted that the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill seeks to facilitate the provision and obtaining by Nigeria of international assistance in criminal matters, including the provision and obtaining of evidence; making of arrangements for persons to give evidence or assist in criminal investigations; recovery, forfeiture or confiscation of property in respect of offences; restraining of dealings in property or the freezing of assets that may be recovered, forfeited or confiscated in respect of offences as well as execution of request for search and seizure, location and identification of witnesses and suspects.

Buhari called on the Senate to give expeditious passage to the bills.

In line with the usual proceedings in the National Assembly, the bill is expected to be gazetted any moment and slated for first reading.

DCSL 90X780

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