Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing: NBA Seeks Partnership with ICPC

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) are to foster a working partnership in the areas of training and sensitization of its members to enhance their capacity in dealing with the menace of money laundering and terrorism financing in Nigeria.

The idea of partnership between the two bodies was brokered when the President of the NBA, Mr. Yakubu Chonoko Maikyau, OON, SAN, and some members of his team paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman of the ICPC, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, SAN at the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja.

The NBA President stated that the purpose of his visit was to inform the ICPC Boss and his management team of what the NBA had done and is still doing that was directly connected to the mandate of the commission.

The visit, he said, was also to seek the support of the Commission in the area of training and sensitization of its members on the implementation of the Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing as contained in the rules of Professional Conduct of the Association.

His words, “When we came on board, we decided that we must demonstrate good faith in the fight against corruption, and not just to pay lip service. So, we took the Anti-money laundering guidelines and also the guidelines on counter-terrorism financing and made them part of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the NBA. With the help of the former Attorney-General of the Federation, it was issued at the General Council of the Bar and it became part of the Rules of Professional Conduct of the lawyers”.

Mr. Maikyau further revealed that singular action implied that, “every legal practitioner now by the rules that guide their professional conduct, is obligated to satisfy the requirements in the Rules of Professional Conduct in dealing with their clients on the risk assessment basis”.

He then told his host that after the amendment was passed in 2023, the Association realized that there were challenges in terms of sensitization and implementation of the guidelines, adding that it thought that those who were expected to be regulated by the guidelines should understand all that it is about and how to apply the rules in their professional practices.

The NBA President stated that even though the rules of professional conduct were issued in June 2023, it was meant to come into effect in January 2024 but attributed the delay in its implementation to the change of leadership of the major Anti-corruption agencies in the country – the CBN, ICPC, and EFCC, including the change in government.

The NBA Boss informed the Chairman of ICPC that the NBA had her first sensitization workshop on the 21st May 2024 in Abuja and they have planned to hold a series of sensitization programes across the country. He hinted that the next ones are expected to take place in Port Harcourt in July, followed by Lagos and Kano.

He further explained that ‘’what we are trying to do is to sensitize our members to understand their responsibilities under the Rules of Professional Conduct, so that together, as a matter of lifestyle, we can support the fight against corruption. This is so that it becomes a part of our practice”.

He called on the Commission to support the NBA’s sensitization programmes that will be taking place in Port Harcourt, Lagos, and Kano and expressed optimism that by the time they are done, he would be pretty much comfortable that the members of the NBA would be well informed enough about the guidelines regulating money laundering and terrorism financing activities when relating with their clients.

In his response, the ICPC Chairman, Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, SAN expressed appreciation to the NBA President and his team for finding time to visit the Commission, stating that the two bodies had enjoyed a close relationship over the years.

The ICPC boss noted that the Commission as a body respects the NBA because they both share similarities in their mandates and that there were members of the Association among the staff of the Commission including all its past chairmen and himself.

Dr. Aliyu applauded Mr. Maikyau for his doggedness in pushing for the inclusion of the guidelines of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing guidelines into the Rules of Professional Conduct of the NBA. This, according to him, was a major step that could help the anti-graft agencies in tackling Money laundering and terrorism financing in the country.

He further stated that corruption was a serious issue in Nigeria and one that was very difficult to tackle, but was optimistic that with people like the NBA president, collaborations could be made to ensure that the challenges were tackled.

In his words, “Nigeria is a country having wonderful people with integrity. Although we have people who promote corruption, some people are willing and ready, like the way you have demonstrated, to partner with us in tackling the menace.”

The ICPC Chairman assured his guests that the Commission was ready to partner with the NBA in sensitizing its members as requested, stating that “it is within our mandate of public enlightenment and education to ensure that we carry out sensitization to the public”.

Dr. Aliyu assured the NBA team that he would personally attend all the sensitization programmes that would be organized by the association.

Signed
Demola Bakare, fsi
Ag. Director, Public Enlightenment and Education/
Spokesperson for the Commission

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