President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the bill seeking to make the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) an autonomous body.
Ita Enang, senior special assistant to the president on national assembly (senate), disclosed this while addressing state house correspondents in Abuja on Wednesday.
By this, the NFIU would seize to exist as a department in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“NFIU will now be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria, but as an autonomous and Independent body,” Enang said.
With the signing of the Act, NFIU has been empowered to receive currency transactions reports, suspicious transactions reports, currency declaration reports and other information relating to money laundering and extremists financing activities from financial institutions.
The unit will also receive reports on cross-border movement of currency and monetary instruments, maintain a comprehensive financial intelligence database for information collection, analysis and exchange with counterpart FIUs and law enforcement agencies around the world.
The senate had passed the bill in July last year while the house of representatives passed it in March this year.
Last year, TheCable reported the suspension of Nigeria by Egmont Group because of the “interference” of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the workings of the unit.
The Egmont Group is the global body responsible for setting standards on best practices for FIUs in over 131 FIUs from 131 jurisdictions.
It was founded in 1995 to foster international collaboration in the exchange of intelligence by member states.
In December, Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the EFCC, disclosed that the commission has granted the NFIU autonomy.
“We have allowed NFIU to go. They are operationally autonomy independent of EFCC,” he had said.