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Cablegate: Nigerian Efforts to Freeze Terrorist Assets

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002841

SIPDIS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETTC EFIN PTER NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIAN EFFORTS TO FREEZE TERRORIST ASSETS

REF: (A) STATE 185882 (B) ABUJA 2793


Post provides the following responses to reftel questionnaire:


A. President Obasanjo has issued a statement of support for
the global coalition against terrorism. On October 8, the
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a Circular directing all
financial institutions in Nigeria to identify accounts
connected to terrorists identified in Executive Order 13224.
Another Circular was issued October 17 to include the
terrorists identified by the Departments of State and
Treasury on October 12.


B. Yes, the CBN issued the order on October 8, 2001.


C. No terrorist-related assets have been identified as of
November 2.


D. (i) Nigerian domestic law does not require an UNSCR as a
prerequisite to freezing financial assets in Nigeria.
(ii) N/A
(iii) No action by a multilateral body is required to freeze
financial assets.
(iv) Specific anti-terrorism legislation does not currently
exist in Nigeria. Draft legislation containing specific
reference to terrorism, is pending approval by the Executive
Council (equivalent to the U.S. Cabinet). An interagency
committee comprised of officials from the Presidency, Federal
Ministry of Justice, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Drug
Law Enforcement Agency and the Federal Ministry of Foreign
Affairs has been established to revise existing legislation
and implement UNSCRs 1267, 1333, 1368. Even without the new
legislation, CBN Deputy Governor for International Operations
reported that the NDLEA Decree of 1989 and the Money
Laundering Decree of 1995 provide sufficient basis for
freezing terrorist-related assets. The CBN can also freeze
accounts based on the order of a court of competent
jurisdiction.


E. UNSCRs require domestic legislative and executive action
to make them effective.


F. The NDLEA Decree of 1989 and the Money Laundering Decree
of 1995 provide sufficient basis for freezing
terrorist-related assets. The CBN can also freeze accounts
based on a court order.


G. According to CBN Deputy Governor Ebi, yes, the legal
authority for a simultaneous freeze exists. However, the
decision is ultimately political and would need to come from
President Obasanjo himself, Ebi states.


H. GON has pledged to cooperate fully in preventing
terrorists access to financial assets in accordance with
UNSCR 1267. The CBN has required all banks to identify and
report on accounts held by terrorist entities pursuant to
September 23 Executive Order and subsequent designations by
Secretaries of State and Treasury. As of November 3, 50

SIPDIS
banks had reported to the Central Bank. No accounts have been
identified.


I. Same as above (H).


J. GON has not reported any difficulties with implementation
of UNSCR 1373. It is noteworthy that the President, Vice
President, CBN Governor and key Ministers have all offered
full support in the fight against terrorism. Draft
legislation (reported Ref B) criminalizes the financing of
terrorist organizations, but fails to identify terrorism or
terrorist groups.


K. Yes, the GON has agreed to freeze assets of the full list
of 39 persons.


L. (i) According to CBN Deputy Governor Ebi, there are no
legal restrictions with sharing financial account information
with foreign authorities. Ebi has offered Embassy officers
full disclosure of all CBN files relating to its
investigation into terrorist accounts.
(ii) N/A


M. Federal Ministry of Justice recently completed draft
legislation to combat money laundering, financial crimes and
terrorism. RNLEO MARK Taylor will carry copies of the draft
legislation to Washington the week of November 5.


N. No GON agency is specifically tasked with implementing UN
Security Council resolutions. It is likely that the GON does
not monitor most UNSCRs. However, if the decision to
implement a UNSCR were made, the Federal Ministries of
Foreign Affairs and Justice would hold primary
responsibility. Draft legislation, as described Ref B,
establishes a Financial Crimes Commission, which might
subsume responsibility for implementation of UNSCR 1267,
1333, and 1373.


O. As described in para M and N above, draft legislation is
pending approval by the Federal Executive Council (equivalent
to U.S. Cabinet). The legislation would then require
ratification by the National Assembly.
Andrews

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