*** Urges its Anti- Corruption Committee to in the next 4 weeks submit a draft bill for an independent NFIU
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- FOLLOWING the suspension of Nigeria of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) from the Egmont Group, the Senate on Wednesday resolved to pass a law that would make the NFIU, independent of the anti-graft agency, EFCC.
The Senate has also mandated the Senator Chukwuka Utazi led Committee on Anti- Corruption and Financial Crimes to in the next four weeks submit for discussion, a draft bill for the setting up of an independent NFIU.
The Senate resolved to pass a law creating a substantive and autonomous Nigeria Financial intelligence Unit, NFlU, and make the Unit legally and operationally autonomous with powers for the employment, reward, training, promotion and discipline of its workforce independently
It also resolved to empower the NFIU to, in line with international best practices, exchange and relate with all countries on issues affecting its mandate at the bilateral and multidateral levels.
The resolutions of the Senate were sequel to a motion by Senator Chukwuka Utazi, PDP, Enugu North and entitled, “Dire implications of the suspension of Nigeria from the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.”
The Senate has also urged the three Line Ministries of justice, Finance and Interior to do all within their powers to ensure that Nigeria’s suspension is immediately reversed and ensure that all conditions specified by the EDMONT Group are met to re-admit and improve Nigeria’s standing within the Group while
increasing their levels of cooperation and coordination to ensure that Nigeria achieves membership of FATF.
The lawmakers have also asked the Executive branch to include in any Supplementary budget estimate that may be presented to the National Assembly before the end of the year a separate budget for the NFIU in view of the need to lift the suspension of Nigeria as soon as possible.
The NFIU, an arm of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was reportedly suspended from the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units over Nigeria’s failure to provide legal framework that will make the NFIU autonomous”
The NFIU helps tackle money laundering and monitor financial flows, task eased by its membership of the Egmont Group whose members share intelligence relating to international finance and illicit flow.