National Assembly Passes NFIU Bill, Cuts Down EFCC, Police Powers

House of Reps probes missing $202m unaccounted for by NIA

Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Chukwuka Utazi submitted the conference committee's report to the Senate yesterday.

The group had threatened to expel Nigeria permanently by March 11 if the Nigerian government failed to grant the unit the autonomy required to become its member.

"And the conference committee concluded its sitting yesterday; what was passed today was the harmonised version of the bill and I don't expect my counterpart in the Senate to present a different report", he said.

The NFIU is now under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

"There were differences in what the two committees passed, a conference committee was therefore constituted to reconcile and harmonise the differences".

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

The senate passed it's own version of the NFIU bill in September previous year while the harmonized and final copy was passed yesterday by the House of Representatives at the plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Sulaimon Yussuff Lasun.

The group reportedly demanded autonomy for the NFIU as a condition for the suspension to be lifted.

The Egmont group, a global network of 154 Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), had suspended Nigeria at its last general meeting in July 2017.

On Sunday, Senate President Bukola Saraki hinted that the house of representatives would pass the bill this week.

If assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari, the NFIU, which hitherto was under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will now be domiciled as a unit under the Godwin Emefiele-led Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The Egmont Group insisted that failure to make Nigeria's unit legally independent would have subjected financial transactions from Nigeria, including funds transfers and credit cards, to special controls, banking sources said.

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