Why we passed NFIU bill - Saraki

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Ekweremadu commended Utazi and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Kayode Oladele, for putting aside their differences and presenting a harmonised report.

The Senate on Wednesday passed the bill setting up the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) as an independent body. He thanked the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption, Senator Chukwuka Utazi and the Senators for helping in delivering the promise earlier made that the Bill will be passed this week.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, said "let me on behalf of the entire Senate congratulate the new Grand Khadi of Sharia Court of Appeal, Hon".

The clash between the Senate and House of Representatives on the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIU) bill has been resolved.

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The House of Representatives passed the same bill on Tuesday.

NFIU was operating under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before it was suspended by Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units in July 2017 for not being independent.

He said "being a conference report I do not think we need any further debate knowing the importance of the NFIU to the economy and the well-being of Nigeria and its relationship with the global financial intelligence committee".

The bill if assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari will make the NFIU independent of EFCC within which it is now domiciled. "I hope on the part of the executive, they will quickly assent and ensure the independence of the Financial Intelligence Unit goes beyond signing into law".

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He warned that failure to pass the bill ahead of the next Egmont Group meeting would cause a major economic crisis for Nigeria.

It will be recalled that Nigeria is now serving a suspension from Egmont Group, a body of 154 financial intelligence units, FIUs across the world, which provides a platform for the secure exchange of expertise and financial intelligence to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Banking transactions above a stipulated threshold are automatically sent to the Financial Intelligence Unit.

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