How false petition led to Nigeria’s suspension

Fresh facts emerged yesterday that a false petition by a former director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units led to the suspension of the country from the body.

The ex-director, who was removed during the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has been fighting back.

It was learnt that the suspension has nothing to do with the rating of the anti-corruption agenda of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

It was also gathered that the Egmont Group was only demanding greater autonomy for the nation’s NFIU.

NFIU was suspended on July 5 at the plenary of the Heads of FIUs which took place in Macao

Investigation revealed that the suspension of NFIU had more to do with vested interests than any challenge with the anti-corruption war.

A top government source said: “What Nigeria is facing today may have been self- inflicted as certain citizens with vested interests in the running of the NFIU are known to regularly feed the world body of FIUs with false information regarding the situation in Nigeria.

“The issues that culminated in the recent suspension of Nigeria were predicated on a false petition by a former director of the NFIU who, embittered by the manner of dismissal from service, painted a false imagery of siege on the NFIU with the objective to compromise information from the Egmont Secure Website.

“Though this allegation was investigated and proven to be false by the Egmont Group, it triggered the placement of the NFIU on the Egmont Group support and compliance process, which necessitate a review of the entire compliance requirement of the NFIU.

“It is noteworthy that the Egmont Group recognizes that that an FIU can be located or domiciled in any larger entity, but that there must be a clear cut dichotomy of its functions and operations in the larger entity.”

The source added: “The suspension of Nigeria was a carryover of the problem in NFIU since 2013.

“The challenge predate this administration. No one can blame the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu or the Minister of Interior, Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau.”

The highly-placed source also clarified what the Egmont Group wanted from Nigeria in the last three to four years.

The source added: ”It is only demanding for greater autonomy for the NFIU in terms of having its funds and control over its staff”

“What is happening to NFIU is not strange or peculiar to Nigeria. Germany suffered a similar fate when its FIU was placed on suspension after it was moved from the German Police where it had been domiciled, to the Custom.

“The Egmont Group is not averse to having FIUs domiciled in law enforcement organizations. Most FIUs are indeed domiciled within existing law enforcement organizations except for a few that are stand alone.

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