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Buhari to stop Nigeria’s blacklisting, writes Senate to pass money laundering, terrorism bills

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President Muhammadu Buhari has moved to prevent Nigeria from being blacklisted as he has transmitted the Money Laundering Bill and Terrorism Prevention bill to the Senate for consideration and passage.

The bills which were introduced to take care of identified deficiencies in Nigeria’s Anti-Money Laundering and terrorism laws were accompanied by a letter read at plenary on Thursday by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

Buhari, in the letter dated April 12, said the request for the passage of both bills was in pursuant to the provisions of Section 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

What President Buhari is saying in the letter

Buhari explained that the deficiencies in the country’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism regime (AML/CFT), make it imperative for the passage of both bills.

The president warned that Nigeria is at risk of being blacklisted eventually by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) if both bills are not passed.

Buhari in the letter said: “Pursuant to Section 58(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), I forward herewith, the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Bill, 2022 and Terrorism (Prevention) Bill, 2022 for the kind consideration of the Senate.

“During the recent Mutual Evaluation carried out by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GABA) there were observed deficiencies in Nigeria’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism regime (AML/CFT). 

“Following the evaluation, the Ministry of Justice and other relevant stakeholders reviewed said deficiencies and drafted the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Bill, 2022 and Terrorism (Prevention) Bill, 2022.

“Unless these deficiencies are addressed promptly by the National Assembly, to bring our legal regime in conformity with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations, Nigeria will face the risk of a negative public statement blacklisting the country by FATF.

“This will lead to some negative consequences to our rapidly growing economy.

“In light of the above, Federal Ministry of Justice reviewed the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Bill and Terrorism (Prevention) Bill  before the National Assembly and have come up with revised versions of the Bills, incorporating the resolutions to the deficiencies pointed out in the Mutual Evaluation Report, thereby bringing Nigeria’s AML/CFT legal regime in conformity with the FATF recommendations.’’

What you should know

  • Recall that earlier in March, the Senate passed a bill that seeks to amend the Money Laundering Act 2011.
  • The proposed amendment in the bill makes it mandatory for banks and other financial institutions to report any single transaction or lodgment in excess of N5 million for an individual, and N10 million in the case of a corporate body.

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Major Japanese Bank Sumitomo Mitsui Trust to Launch Cryptocurrency Custody Business

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Sumitomo Mitsui Trust, one of the major banking institutions in Japan, will reportedly enter the cryptocurrency custody business. The company is entering a partnership with Bitbank, a Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange, to launch a new company that will focus on offering institutional-grade custody for digital assets and NFTs.

Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, a major financial institution in Japan, has decided to enter the cryptocurrency custody business. The company announced that it will launch a digital assets custody company in partnership with Bitbank, a Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange. The company, which will be named Japan Digital Asset Trust — and owned 15% by Sumitomo Mitsui Trust and 85% by Bitbank — will focus on providing custody of crypto and NFTs to institutional customers.

According to local media, the objective behind the move is to capture the local institutional market that still sees the issue of custody as a deterrent to investing in these new products. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust believes that investors will be more comfortable holding digital assets if the custody is provided by recognized institutions in the financial world instead of crypto exchanges, which often don’t face the same scrutiny from the established regulatory bodies.

The capital of the company is reportedly 300 million yen ($2.3 million) at its start, with the two companies expecting other investors to dive into this proposal to reach 10 billion yen ($78 million).

The new company aims to start its operation this year, as others competitors are also rushing to bring these services to the Japanese market. Nomura and Crypto Garage are also launching a joint venture to offer similar services to their customers.

However, the Japan Digital Asset Trust will also be offering a different product. According to reports, the new company has plans to issue a yen-pegged stablecoin, supported by regulations allowing banks to launch this kind of product. There have been no further details on this from any of the players in the partnership.

While the company is entering the crypto sector during a downturn in the market, with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies losing a large part of their value, the rise of the metaverse and blockchain gaming could power the interest in cryptocurrency during this period. Japan Digital Asset Trust is said to expect demand for stablecoins, which usually don’t suffer the same volatility problems that other cryptocurrencies do, to increase as metaverse worlds rise to prominence.

What do you think about the new custody company that will be launched by Sumitomo Mitsui Trust? Tell us in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

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Governor Wike sacks Chief of Staff, entire cabinet members

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Nyesom Wike

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has sacked the entire cabinet members with the dissolution of the state executive council.

The governor is also reported to have sacked his Chief of Staff, Emeka Woke, and his Senior Special Assistant on Protocol.

The sack and dissolution was contained in a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, on Tuesday morning in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Although no reason was given for the sacking of the two senior government officials and the dissolution of the state executive council, the governor thanked the cabinet members for their services and contributions to the state and wished them well in their future endeavours.

What the media aide to the Rivers State Governor is saying

The statement partly reads, ‘’Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has dissolved the State Executive Council with effect from Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

  • “The Chief of Staff to the governor and Senior Special Assistant (Protocol), have also been relieved of their office.
  • “His Excellency, Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, commends the members the Rivers State Executive Council for their service and contribution to the development of the State.
  • “He has also wished them the best in all their future endeavours.”

The statement further said Governor Wike, instructed all the former members of the State Executive Council to hand over to the most senior officers in their respective ministries.

Recall that Governor Wike is one of the frontrunners in the presidential race under the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election.

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