By Okechukwu Nnodim September 21, 2010 12:52AM
In order to ensure a smooth interface in the fight against money laundering in Nigeria, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday initiated a partnership with the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).According to the IMF, the partnership is aimed at providing "technical assistance" to anti-money laundering agencies in Nigeria, and ensuring that offenders are duly prosecuted.
"We are in Nigeria to conduct an assessment of technical needs of anti-money laundering agencies," said Manuel Vasduez, the IMF team leader, at the anti-narcotics agency's office in Lagos.Mr. Vaduez, who was received by Norman Wokoma, head of NFIU, and Ahmadu Giade, the NDLEA chief excutive, also made a case for training and greater interface among law enforcement agencies in the country, as he noted that this will enhance their operations.
Speaking on the development, Giade promised full cooperation with stakeholders in the fight against money laundering, adding that the anti-drug trafficking agency has the mandate to combat money laundering."NDLEA is the first agency vested with the power to fight money laundering crime in the country. We are committed to total war against money laundering and will interface with relevant bodies in building capacities in addressing the money laundering cases," said Mr. Giade.
Suspects to forfeit assets
Meanwhile, Femi Oloruntoba, director of prosecution and legal services for the anti-narcotics agency, said that the NDLEA has an amended Act before the National Assembly whereby drug suspects evading prosecution will forfeit their assets if after two years they fail to show up.Mr. Oloruntoba, however, disclosed that the action would only be taken after it is made public that the suspect in question had refused to honour the agency's invitation for prosecution.
"Before such assets are forfeited, there will be a publication in a national newspaper to that effect after the two-year period," he said.