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NBA, govt agencies agree to tackle money laundering, financing of terrorism

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NBA, govt agencies agree to tackle money laundering, financing of terrorism
NBA, govt agencies agree to tackle money laundering, financing of terrorism

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and partners have agreed to play their part to ensure that the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism is won.

The resolution was reached at a workshop which took place in Abuja, organised by the Centre for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CFTIW).

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML), the civil society, among others attended.

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With the negative effects of corruption, money laundering, terrorist financing within financial, non-financial institutions and other professions, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) are applying measures.

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CFTIW Director, Umar Yakubu stressed that Nigeria being an integral member of the global community is bound by the preventive actions.

“The support of legal practitioners and the legal community are key in order to foster cooperation between the NBA, the judiciary, anti-corruption agencies, regulators, and civil society groups”, Umar noted.

The participants admitted Nigeria’s deficiencies regarding inter-agency collaboration, sustained oversight and common definition of designated non-financial institutions.

They highlighted that the establishment of the SCUML under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, though laudable, may have missed the mark.

Participants cited how blacklisted countries are subjected to sanctions by FATF member-states and international organizations.

The stakeholders said these would affect trade and finance, in addition to the dent on Nigeria’s credibility, decline in global business networks, and the attendant financial hardship.

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In a communique, they agreed to scale up capacity building sessions for NBA members to improve awareness on the Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Act.

The gathering called for deeper synergy between CBN, NFIU, SCMUL and NBA to further clarify, define and establish clear compliance with the Act.

The lawyers urged agencies involved in the AML/CFT implementation to foster better engagement with partners such as the NBA Anti-Corruption Committee.

The professionals, however, commended the association for exploring options for a self-regulatory billing system.

“That NBA members consider themselves as being on the same team on AML/CFT matters, establish and strengthen the capacity of anti-corruption units in all branches.

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“That parties should cooperate to lobby the National Assembly to pass the relevant law which provides for an electronic whistle blowing portal, and protects whistle blowers.”

“That the global importance of AML/CFT requires for a continuing capacity-building training involving law agencies, lawyers and regulatory agencies.”

Lawyers were asked to guarantee attorney-client confidentiality as covered by extant regulations, while using their experience and knowledge duty to combat crime and criminality.

The communique endorsed regular sensitization for the Body of Benchers due to its statutory role of adjudicating AML/CFT matters and monitoring lawyers’ conduct.

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