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New money laundering Act bans operation of secret accounts

The new money laundering (prevention and prohibition) Act recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari has banned the operations of what it called numbered or anonymous accounts in fictitious names and shell banks.

Corporate organisations who violate the law will on conviction be liable to pay a fine of not less than N10 million and not more than N50 million, while individuals will be liable to a jail term of not more than five years.

According to the law, anybody found guilty of an offence under the Act risked being banned indefinitely or for a period of five years from practising the profession, which provided the opportunity for the offence to be committed.

Being in possession of the proceeds of crime of any kind, including terrorism and kidnapping and failure to inform the authority of the existence of such funds is also deemed as a crime under the new law.

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