By Adenike Lucas
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki has assured Nigerians that the House of Representatives will back the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Agency, NFIA Bill.
Lawmakers in the Upper Chamber passed a bill to make the Nigerian Finacial Intelligence Unit, NFIU independent, after DENISAURUS News exclusively reported Nigeria’s suspension from the Egmont Group.
The suspension was caused by the chairman of the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu.
Mr Magu, described as a “perennial offender” by the secret police, was accused of leaking confidential information gathered from the Canadian server to allies in the media.
The “corrupt” Deputy Commissioner of Police who is also accused of using information under the NFIU to blackmail people, failed to share Financial Intelligence with other law enforcement agencies as required by the international standard agency law.
The NFIU has always been domiciled at the EFCC, but the group has raised concern and want it to be removed.
The NFIA bill addresses the issues raised by the Egmont.
But, instead of adopt the NFIA bill, House of Representatives chairman on anti-corruption, Kayode Oladele, drafted a totally new bill which negates the requirements of the world Financial Intelligence Units.
Hon Oladele, a former EFCC staff wants the NFIU to remain a department within the anti-graft agency, which goes against the requirement for its independence.
The Senate is said to have rejected Honourable Oladele’s amendment. However, without the legislative structure to support the independence of the NFIU, Nigeria faces expulsion from the financial group, which has 156 member countries, including the US, UK, Afghansitan and Sudan.
Senator Saraki has now vowed to complete the passage of the NFIA Bill in the House, before the financial regulatory body holds its next Plenary in Buenos Aires, Argentina this month.
In a tweet, the former Governor of Kwara said: “I am confident that we will pass the NFIU Bill this week.”