President Muhammadu Buhari has set machinery for the establishment of Bureau for Money Laundering Control (BMLC) to tackle money laundering related cases in the country.
The bureau when established would ensure that all designated businesses and professions comply with the provisions of the money laundering act and exercise supervision.
The president had sent the bill tagged, “Money laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) bill, 2016” for the establishment of the bureau to the National Assembly.
BMLC, according to the bill, would be independent in the discharge of its functions and responsibilities if established.
In a copy of the bill obtained by Daily Trust, 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.
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 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.
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 money laundering offence.
It also prescribed three years imprisonment or above for any anybody that fails to report persons involved in money laundering.
Our correspondent reports that the bill would be considered when the lawmakers resume plenary on 16th this month. The lawmakers had last Thursday after reading the president’s letter suspended plenary for two weeks for the budget defence of the 2016 budget.