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Magu: Banks create enabling environment for looters, that’s why they want to take NFIU away from EFCC

Why the Senate wants to separate NFIU from EFCC - Magu

Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says major financial institutions in Nigeria are behind the move of the senate to separate the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) from the EFCC.

Wilson Uwajuren, Public Relations Officer of the Commission, quoted Magu as saying this when he received a delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Magu also alleged that banks in Nigeria were creating a favourable atmosphere for looters to conceal their ill-gotten wealth, adding that the senate plans to install a former managing director of one of the banks as head of the NFIU when it is eventually separated from the EFCC.

“I don’t trust the financial institutions. They create an enabling environment for thieves to loot our money,” Magu was quoted as saying.

“That is why they are fighting to remove the NFIU from us. They want to use a former managing director of a bank to head the NFIU.”

The senate had twice rejected Magu’s nomination by the President as substantial head of the anti-corruption commission.

The senate had asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the executive arm of government to withdraw Magu’s nomination based on a controversial Department of State Services (DSS) report indicting him of frolicking with persons of questionable character.

On Thursday the senate passed a bill seeking to establish the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Agency (NFIA) as a separate body from the EFCC. The bill was passed just four legislative days after it was first sponsored in the chamber by Chukwuka Utazi, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-corruption.

The powers and funding of the EFCC will be greatly reduced if the bill is also passed at the House of Representatives and the NFIU is eventually separated from the EFCC.

The senate said it gave the bill accelerated consideration in order to prevent the expulsion of Nigeria from the Egmont Group of financial intelligence units.

The Egmont Group is an international gathering of over 132 financial intelligence units, which helps in monitoring international money laundering activities.

It recently suspended the NFIU, which is under the EFCC, because of its lack of autonomy and absence of a proper operational framework.

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