Nigeria has escaped expulsion by the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units which concluded its meeting on Thursday without axing Nigeria as it was being speculated.
The group said it would decide Nigeria’s membership at its plenary scheduked to hold in Sydney, Australia in September. Nigeria is
There were fears that the group was going to expel Nigeria for failure to pass a law granting autonomy to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and relocating it from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before March 11, 2018.
Nigeria was placed on suspension in July 2017 at the plenary of the Heads of FIUs in Macau.
As part of efforts to beat the March 11 deadline, the National Assembly had in a rush last week, passed the NFIU Bill, 2018, relocating the NFIU from the EFCC to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The FIUs of Italy, Saudi Arabia, El Salvador, and two other nations are also up for discussion at the September 2018 plenary.
There will also be an inter-sessional meeting in June 2018 when members could send updates on their status reports for review before the September 2018 plenary.
The Egmont Group, through its Membership Support and Compliance Working Group, has identified two issues which Nigeria must address before the September 2018 plenary to have the suspension on it lifted or risk outright expulsion.
The first is a review of the relevant provisions of the EFCC Act which, currently is the law that created the NFIU, to guarantee the “protection of confidentiality, specifically as regards to the status of Suspicious Transfer Reports information and information deriving from international exchanges” and not an outright passage of a new law.
The second area is the need for Nigeria to address “legal basis and clarity on the NFIU’s operational independence from the EFCC” as currently provided in section 1(2)(c)of the EFCC Act.