With the new Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, a citizen or foreigner can no longer make or accept payment in cash of an amount exceeding N5 million or its equivalent while a body corporate can no longer perform or pay the sum of N10 million or its equivalent.

As stipulated in legislation exclusively obtained by Nigerian Tribune, specific provisions for financial institutions or designated non-financial businesses and professions to provide appropriate risk management systems and procedures to mitigate risks posed by domestic and foreign politically exposed persons as well as anyone who has been entrusted with a prominent function by an international organization, as well as casino activities, including Internet casinos and in-vehicle casinos.

The legislation further prohibits an individual from separately entering into two or more transactions with one or more financial institutions or designated non-financial businesses and professions for the purpose of: avoiding the obligation to report a transaction that should be reported under this law; violate the duty to disclose information under the law by any other means.

As encapsulated in section 1(ae), the objectives of the law include: the establishment of an “effective and comprehensive legal and institutional framework for the prevention, prohibition, detection, prosecution and repression of money laundering money and other related offenses in Nigeria; strengthen the existing system for combating money laundering and similar offences; take adequate steps to prohibit money laundering; broaden the scope of money laundering offenses and provide for appropriate sanctions.

Section 1(e) of the Act also seeks to establish the Special Money Laundering Control Unit under the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for effective implementation of the provisions of the Money Laundering Act. money with respect to designated non-financial businesses and professions.

Section 2(1) of the Bill which sets the cash payment limit for making or accepting a cash payment, provides that: No natural or legal person may, except in connection with a transaction by the intermediary of a financial institution, make or accept a cash payment of an amount exceeding – 5,000,000 N or its equivalent, in the case of an individual; or N10,000,000 or its equivalent, in the case of a body corporate.

Section 2(a and b) further states that: “A person shall not separately enter into two or more transactions with one or more financial institutions or designated non-financial businesses and professions with the intention of: evading obligation to report a transaction that should be reported under this Act; violate the duty to disclose information under the law by any other means.

Article 3(1) of the bill enacted by President Buhari makes mandatory the reporting of international transfer or transport of funds, securities and cash, provides that: “A transfer to or from a foreign country of funds or securities by any person or body corporate, including a money services business, in excess of US$10,000 or its equivalent must be reported in writing to the Unit, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Securities and Exchange Commission within 7 days of the trade date.

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Section 3(2-5) further provides that: “A declaration made under subsection (1) of this section shall state the nature and amount of the transfer, the names and addresses of the sender and recipient of the funds or securities.

“The transport of cash or negotiable instruments in excess of US$10,000 or its equivalent by individuals within or outside Nigeria must be reported to the Nigerian Customs Service. The Nigeria Customs Service shall report any declaration made under paragraph (3) of this section to the Central Bank and the Unit.

“Any person who falsely declares or fails to declare to the Nigerian Customs Service in accordance with Section 12 of the Foreign Exchange (Supervisory and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Cap. F34, LFN, 2004 commits an offense and is liable , if convicted, forfeiture of the undeclared funds or negotiable instrument or imprisonment for at least 2 years or both.

Article 4(1a-d) of the Law obliges the Financial Institution and a Designated Non-Financial Business and Profession to: identify a customer, whether permanent or occasional, natural or legal person or any other form of legal arrangement , use identification documents as prescribed by any relevant regulations; verify the identity of this client using reliable and independent documents, data or information; identify the beneficial owner using relevant information or data obtained from a reliable source, so that the Financial Institution or Designated Non-Financial Business and Profession is satisfied that it knows who the beneficial owner is ; and take reasonable steps to verify that any person purporting to act on behalf of the Client is so authorized, identified and verifying the identity of such person.

Section 4(2a-d) also requires financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses and professions to undertake customer due diligence measures when establishing business relationships; carrying out occasional transactions above the applicable designated threshold prescribed by the relevant regulations, including transactions carried out in a single transaction or in several transactions appearing to be linked; carry out occasional transactions which are transfers; there is a suspicion of money laundering or terrorist financing, regardless of exemptions or thresholds; or the Financial Institution or Designated Non-Financial Business and Profession has doubts about the veracity or adequacy of the customer identification data previously obtained.

Regarding politically exposed persons, Article 4(7) provides that: “Financial institutions or designated non-financial businesses and professions shall put in place appropriate risk management systems and procedures to determine whether a customer or the beneficial owner of a client is a politically exposed person”.

Article 4(8a-d) provides that: “With respect to a foreign politically exposed person, the financial institution or identifying customer, whether permanent or occasional, natural or legal person or any other form of construction legal, using the identification documents be prescribed in any relevant regulations; verify the identity of this client using reliable and independent documents, data or information; identify the beneficial owner using relevant information or data obtained from a reliable source such that the Financial Institution or Designated Non-Financial Business and Profession is satisfied that it knows who the beneficial owner is; and take reasonable steps to verify that any person claiming to act on behalf of the client is thus authorized, identified and verify the identity of this person.

Article 12(1-2) of the law also prohibits the number of anonymous accounts, accounts in fictitious names and fictitious banks.

According to the legislation, “The opening or holding of numbered or anonymous accounts by any person, financial institution or legal entity is prohibited. No one shall establish or operate a shell bank in Nigeria. »

Article 12(4a-b)(ii) however provides that: “Any person, financial institution or body corporate which contravenes the provisions of paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) of this article, commits an offense and is liable on conviction – in the case of an individual, imprisonment for not less than 2 years but not more than 5 years; or in the case of a financial institution or a body corporate, a fine of not less than 10 million naira but not more than 50 million naira, in addition to – the prosecution of the principal executives of the legal person, as well as the liquidation and prohibition of its incorporation or incorporation in any form or appearance whatsoever”.

As encapsulated in the law, illegality will include: participation in an organized criminal group; racketeering, terrorism, financing of terrorism; trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, sexual exploitation, sexual exploitation of children; illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances; illicit arms trafficking, illicit trafficking in stolen goods; corruption, bribery, fraud, counterfeiting; counterfeiting and piracy of products, environmental crimes; murder, grievous bodily harm; kidnapping, hostage-taking, burglary or theft; smuggling (including customs and excise duties and taxes), tax offenses (related to direct taxes and indirect taxes); extortion, counterfeiting, piracy; insider trading and market manipulation; and any other criminal act specified in this Act or any other law in Nigeria, including any act, wherever committed, in so far as such act would be an unlawful act if committed in Nigeria.