FG determined to meet Egmont group, FATF conditions – AGF

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Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), on Sunday assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would do the needful to ensure that Nigeria secured the membership of the global anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing monitoring body, the Financial Action Task Force.

He said also said the government was also poised to ensure that the suspension of Nigeria from the world financial intelligence body, Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Unit, was lifted.

Special Adviser to the AGF on Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Isah, said in a statement that the minister recently received a letter from the FATF warning that Nigeria’s “failure to implement the Egmont Group requirement will have serious consequences”.

The PUNCH had exclusively reported that the FATF letter l dated August 29, 2017 and signed by its President, Santiago Otamedi, informed the AGF that there could be “implications” should Nigeria fail to address the “concerns” leading to the suspension of the NFIU from the Egmont group before November 20, 2017.

But, the minister, through the statement issued by his media aide on Sunday stated that the Federal Government “is not resting on its oars to do the needful”.

The statement read in part, “However, the Federal Government is not resting on its oars to do the needful to attain the FATF demand on the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit to qualify it for membership under the Egmont Group of FIUs.

“To achieve this, then Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN had constituted a powerful ad hoc-committee chaired by Senator Chukwuka Utazi, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes with specific terms of reference to ensure the nation meets the requirements as demanded by Egmont Group and FATF.

“It has since concluded its work and submitted its report to the presidency.”

The statement said that the FATF delegation would be visiting Nigeria “to confirm FG’s level of commitment to its objectives, especially its standards.”

It added, “FATF secretariat in France through a letter dated 29 August 2017 titled, ‘Suspension of Egmont Group membership status of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit’, also affirmed that the visit will provide FATF member nations the assurance that Nigeria is ready to undergo a successful mutual evaluation within three years.”

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