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Cablegate: Fatf Update: National Assembly Moves On Legislation

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

UNCLAS ABUJA 003138

SIPDIS


SENSITIVE


FOR INL AND AF
.
TREASURY FOR DO - SHAUN LONERGAN


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM EFIN SNAR NI
SUBJECT: FATF UPDATE: NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MOVES ON LEGISLATION


REF: ABUJA 2875 AND PREVIOUS


1. Ambassador Jeter and RNLEO called on Deputy Speaker of the
House of Representatives Chidubom Nwuche (PDP-Rivers State)
November 15 to underscore the need for money laundering
legislation prior to a December 15 deadline imposed by the
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at its October 9-11
meeting in Paris.


2. The Ambassador emphasized the real threat of
"counter-measures" to be imposed after December 15 if the GON
fails to pass key money laundering legislation identified by
the FATF. He described the adverse effect these sanctions
will have on the Nigerian financial sector, the economy, and
ultimately the Nigerian public.


3. Nwuche responded positively, agreeing that the situation
is serious. He reported to the Ambassador that the House is
ready to act on the draft Financial Crimes Commission (FCC)
Act sent to the National Assembly last month by the
Presidency. Before it can act, however, the House must have
the bill gazetted by the National Assembly's print shop in
Lagos. The FCC bill was sent to Lagos two days ago and
should be gazetted and ready for its first and second
readings by the middle of next week, the Deputy Speaker
claimed.


4. Ambassador Jeter clarified that there are three pieces of
money laundering legislation awaiting the Assembly's urgent
passage -- the Financial Crimes Commission (FCC) Act and
amendments to the 1995 Money Laundering and 1991 Banking and
Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Acts. Nwuche then noted
that the two amendments would be far easier to pass since
they modify existing law while the Financial Crimes
Commission Act would require extensive review to ensure it
does not conflict with existing laws. The Deputy Speaker
asked if the passage of the two amendments would be
sufficient to forestall the FATF sanctions. Jeter responded
that these are the most important legislative reforms as they
broaden the scope of money laundering beyond solely drug
trafficking proceeds and therefore should be enough to
satisfy the FATF, though passage of the FCC bill is still
desired and would demonstrate even further Nigeria's
commitment to combat money laundering and other financial
crimes.


5. Comment: Nwuche had called the press corps for the
meeting, which the Ambassador obliged by giving a statement
before asking that the press depart the Deputy Speaker's
office. In that press statement, which will likely be given
extensive local coverage, the Ambassador underscored the need
for rapid GON movement on the money laundering legislation
prior to December 15 and outlined some of the possible
consequences if that legislation is not enacted. Nwuche
appears sincere in his stated commitment to getting the
requisite legislation -- which we understand is the Money
Laundering Act amendment -- passed within the next 30 days.


JETER

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