The Nigerian House of Representatives Wednesday, September 24, 2014 afternoon passed the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Center Bill.
The bill which was earlier passed by the Senate seeks to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Center to perform the traditional function of collecting, analyzing and disseminating financial intelligence to law enforcement agencies and other authorized entities.
It is designed to provide a sustainable and credible legal framework for the Financial Intelligence Center-FIC, Nigeria. As is the accepted practice in other jurisdictions, the Bill seeks to provide the FIC with operational independence and autonomy, and greater ability to provide financial intelligence to all relevant competent authorities in order to strengthen anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) measures.
The NFIC Bill was a subject of controversy following what pundits describe as “several misconceptions caused by distortion of facts by those opposed to its passage.” The bill, which has been heavily championed by Mr Stephen Oronsaye in his capacity as Chairman Presidential Task Force on FATF will ensure that the proposed NFIC is not tied to any agency but will have adequate measures to build an independent financial intelligence system. Mr. Oronsaye had come under stiff opposition from the EFCC for his role in advancing the need to the NFIC bill.
It would be recalled that the third reading and passage of the Bill suffered setback following a strong opposition from a group in the lower Chamber, who earlier claimed not to have received copies of the report of the House Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial crimes.
Reacting to the passage of the bill, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes, Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba described it as another show of the commitment of the present House leadership in the war against money laundering, terrorism and corruption in Nigeria.
Jagaba commended his colleagues for their support, even as he spoke of the need for credible and competent persons to be appointed to head the Center.