Egmont Group Threat - Senate Passes Conference Report On NFIA Bill

Reps pass bill seeking to make NFIU autonomous

NASS Transfers NFIU From EFCC To CBN

Before now, Nigeria had designated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as its NFIU, a position the Egmont group rejected as not being in line with its rules.

The passage of the legislation is key to Nigeria's membership of the Egmont Group, an informal network of 156 financial intelligence units (FIUs).

Demand from the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to be Autonomous has been considered by the National Assembly, as they jointly passed a bill to support the motion on Wednesday March 7, 2018.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria is now serving a suspension from the EGMONT group which has accused the EFCC of sharing confidential information to media.

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.

By that action and a similar adoption by the Senate, the NFIU bill stood passed.

Nigeria was suspended past year from the Egmont Group following the non-establishment of the NFIU as an autonomous body.

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If expelled, the country will suffer a blacklist in the global finance sector and Nigerian Banks will be unable to issue Mastercard and Visa credit/debit cards while card transactions with Nigerian originated cards will be blocked.

"It is important that we consider the report tomorrow so that Nigeria will be out of the suspension and be counted among the comity of nations in the EGMONT Group, " he added.

It also advised that the NFIU could be domiciled in any government agency of choice, including the EFCC, so long as it operated as an independent entity.

"The version passed by the Senate is called the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Agency bill, while the one passed by the House is Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit and the House version was adopted".

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.

He said that the Bill will be passed and signed into law before the group's meeting this weekend.

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

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