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NFIU Lauded For Anti-Money Laundering Efforts

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…Agency Not Under Any Threat of Sanction
BEVERLY HILLS, CA, May 14, (THEWILL) â€' The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU has received special commendation for its commitment to the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

The commendation was the highpoint of deliberations at the 21 plenary session of the Inter Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering, GIABA, in Niamey, Niger Republic, where Nigeria was rated first among 16 member states for the FIU's compliance with the FATF 40 + 9 Recommendations using the Mutual Evaluation Reports, MERs, and Follow-up Reports sent to the FATF, the EFCC said in a statement Wednesday.

This accolade contradicts publication in section of the media alleging that the NFIU had been frozen out of the comity of global Financial Intelligence Units. One of such reports had alleged that the NFIU, an autonomous body domiciled within the EFCC, stands the risk of being suspended from the Egmont Group by June 1, 2014.

This claim, in addition to the report that the NFIU has been disconnected from the Secured Web of the Egmont Group and cannot share intelligence with other Financial Intelligence Units around the world, is unfounded and patently false, the EFCC said.

NFIU's membership of the Egmont Group is not under any threat. Indeed, the Unit has been discharging its obligations to the Group. The much touted disconnection of the NFIU from the Egmont Secured Web has also become a relic, as the Unit has since been re-connected to the ESW, with unfettered access to other 138 members of the Group.

This came after a report by a team from the Egmont Group that visited the NFIU to assess the situation in the aftermath of the controversial reported barricade of the Unit by armed security operatives in November 2013.

The fact finding team upon the completion of its investigation, observed that the armed security presence did not in any way interfere with the operations of the Unit but that they were only stationed to ensure an orderly transition of FIU directors. The team therefore recommended that the NFIU be re- connected to the Egmont Secured Website.

Part of their report according to the EFCC statement stated thus: 'press reports that claimed armed police had seized the NFIU in late November 2013 and attempted to access or destroy NFIU information were unsubstantiated. On the day in question (Wednesday, November 20, 2013), the police entered the NFIU to ensure an orderly transition of FIU directors but the police had no access to NFIU information, including the ESW'