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Senate passes bill mandating banks to report deposits above N5m to EFCC

The Senate on Wednesday March 16, passed a bill to amend the Money Laundering Act 2011.

The new bill now makes it mandatory for banks and other financial institutions to report, in writing, to the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, any single transaction or lodgment in excess of N5m for an individual and N10m for a corporate body.

While section 11(3) of the bill provides that “any financial institution or designated non-financial business and profession that contravenes the provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than N250,000 and not more than N1m for each day the contravention continues”, Section 12 of the bill prohibits the opening of numbered or anonymous accounts in fictitious names and shell banks.

Section 13 further mandates financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions to identify and access the money laundering and terrorism financing risks that may arise in relation to the development of new products and new business practices.

The bill also states that any person or financial institution that contravenes the provisions of Section 12 subsections (1), (2) and (3), is liable to imprisonment of not less than 2 years and not more than 5 years in the case of an individual; and a fine of not less than N10m but not more than N50m for a financial institution, in addition to the prosecution of the principal officers of the body, and winding up and prohibition of its constitution or incorporation.

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