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The House of Representatives on Monday has proposed tougher measures against money laundering, including a prison term of seven years and a fine of “not less than N50m.”
In a news Findings by The PUNCH on Monday showed that two anti-money laundering bills before the House had been consolidated and referred to the crucial committee stage.
A copy of one of the bills obtained by newsmen, an Executive bill, seeks to repeal the extant money laundering law.
It was first passed by the National Assembly in 2011.
The long title of the executive bill reads, ‘A Bill for an Act to Repeal the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and Enact the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act to Provide for Measures for the Prevention and Prohibition Laundering in Nigeria and for other Related Matters’.
The executive bill was sponsored by the Majority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.
On the other hand, the second bill, a private member bill by Mr. Edward Pwajok, (SAN), seeks to amend the extant Act with tougher penalties.
The long title of Pwajok’s bill is, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, by Repealing Some Provisions and Including Some Definitions and for other Matters Connected, 2016’.
For instance, in the second bill, there is a proposal to amend Section 11(2)(b) of the Principal Act by “deleting N10m but not more than N50m and substituting it with not less than N50m.”
In the harmonised executive version, a jail term of “not less than seven years without the option of a fine,” is prescribed in Section 8, if the offender is an individual.
For a financial institution, the penalty is a “fine of not less than N25m.”
Under Section 2, a laundered property is a property suspected to have “criminal origin,” while the offender is a person who “conceals, disguises, converts, transfers or removes the property from Nigeria.”
Under Section 3 of the bill, acquiring or entering into any arrangement to acquire a property that has criminal origin “on behalf of another person,” is a punishable offence.
Under Section 4, a person “using the property” or “has possession of the property” is also an offender.
If the suspect is a “designated, non-financial business or profession,” the fine is not less than N10m.
Other penalties for individuals range from three years to five years on conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction.