Nigeria's acting leader urges passage of money crimes bills

Nigeria's acting president urged parliament to pass two financial crimes bills within the next two months.

Nigeria's acting leader urges passage of money crimes bills

Nigeria's acting president urged parliament to pass two financial crimes bills within the next two months, warning that failure to do so could impact foreign investment in sub-Saharan Africa's second-biggest economy.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan said he feared the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF), comprising governments and regional organisations, would add Nigeria to its blacklist if it did not pass anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism legislation by June 30.

The Paris-based body has blacklisted Iran, Angola, North Korea, Ecuador and Ethiopia in February for posing risks to the global financial system.

In a letter to the House of Representatives, Jonathan said Nigeria faced "grave economic and political consequences" if the FATF decided to implement sanctions on the OPEC member.

"Some countries will not honour international financial instruments emanating from Nigeria, including letters of credit," said the letter, which was read to the lower house of parliament on Tuesday.

"International investors will be scared to invest in Nigeria and those willing to do so will request for the most stringent conditions," it added.

The two bills aim to close gaps in Nigeria's fight against money-laundering and terrorism by providing anti-corruption police with greater authority to prosecute criminals.

Anti-terrorism legislation has assumed greater urgency since a Nigerian man was arrested after trying to bring down an airliner over Detroit last December with explosives concealed in his underwear.

Ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua, who suffered a heart ailment and has not been seen in public since November, had committed Nigeria to implementing the legislation by the end of 2009. But neither houses of parliament have approved the bill.

Jonathan, who assumed executive powers in Yar'Adua's absence, said Nigeria's international image would be "highly dented" if the legislation does not pass in time.

But the two bills will need to fight for attention among a huge backlog of reform legislation in parliament, ranging from the oil sector to banking and the electoral system.

Reuters

Last Mod: 20 Nisan 2010, 21:13
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