$9.3 Million Deal: FG Breached Money Laundering Act – Reps

The House of Representatives committee on Public Procurement mandated to investigate the smuggling of $9.3 million to South Africa has reported in its findings that three major Acts of the National Assembly were contravened in by the federal government.

The Acts are the Money Laundering Prohibition Act; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Act and the Public Procurement Act, PPA, according to findings released by the House committee.

Section 2(1) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act Cap 118 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, provides that a transfer to or from a foreign country of funds or securities of a sum greater than $10,000 or its equivalent shall be reported to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Section 2(2) provides that such a report shall indicate the nature and amount of the transfer and the names and addresses of the sender and receiver of the funds or securities.

The law stipulates that failure to report an international transfer of funds or securities as required under the Act is punishable with a minimum of 15 years imprisonment under section 15(2a) of the Act.

The document issued by the House committee on Procurement chaired by Jumoke Okoya-Thomas, citing these provisions, noted that the contentious arms deal breached the Public Procurement Act.

Under the Act, “any person who conspires with aids, abets or counsels another person to commit the offence is guilty of the offence and liable to the same punishment prescribed for the offence under the Act.”

Although section 43(1a) of the Public Procurement Act empowers a procurement entity to carry out an emergency procurement where the country is either seriously threatened by or actually confronted with a disaster, catastrophe, war, insurrection or Act of God, sub-section 3 of this section requires such procurement to be handled along the principles of accountability.

The House committee therefore raised the following questions in its submission: “Which organisation is the appropriate procuring entity? If the money was for purchase of arms, why was the transaction not carried out by the Nigerian Army or Defence Headquarters?”

It also wondered why two civilian Nigerian citizens and an Israeli were assigned to carry out such a deal involving huge amounts of money in hard currency if indeed the $9.3 million was intended for the procurement of arms from South Africa on behalf of the Nigerian government.

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