Senate receives report on NFIU autonomy

Senate receives report on NFIU autonomy

Kayode Oladele, chairman of the house committee on financial and economic crimes, had presented the report to the house during plenary.

In the event of an expulsion, Nigeria would no longer benefit from financial intelligence shared by the member countries of the group.

This is coming as the Senate has scheduled today (Wednesday) consider and adopt the report of the Conference Committee on NFIU Bill.

The house of representatives has passed the bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) as an autonomous body.

The EFCC act had designated the commission as the destination for the NFIU, a position the Egmont group rejected because it would compromise the utmost secrecy under which financial intelligence units operate globally.

A threat of permanent expulsion from the Egmont Group is hanging over Nigeria if by March 11, the NFIU has not been granted full financial and operational autonomy.

The passage of the Bill by the Senate is following its passage on Tuesday by the House of Representatives.




Parliament's move comes after the Egmont Group, a body of 155 Financial Intelligence Units across the world, threatened to delist Nigeria unless the local unit gained autonomy, enabling it to deal with financial crimes more effectively.

Nigeria will also be blacklisted in worldwide finance operations and this could affect the use of credit and debit cards by Nigerians overseas.

Findings showed that the conference committee adopted the recommendation of the Senate, which removed the NFIU from the anti-graft agency and domiciled it in the CBN. What used to obtain was a hybrid type where you have enforcement as well as administrative functions put together because it was domiciled in the EFCC.

Only last week, Utazi accused his counterpart in the House of attempting to derail the process of having a legal framework that would guarantee independence of the NFIU.

The Egmont Group had insisted that failure to make it legally independent would have led to financial transactions from Nigeria including funds transfer and credit cards would have been subject to special controls, banking sources said.

Both lawmakers, according to Senator Utazi, however, met on Monday evening and came up with the report.

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