Members of the Public Accounts Committees in the 7th Senate and House of Representatives, statutorily responsible for ensuring probity and accountability in the nation’s financial system, compromised the Money Laundering Act during their tenure, documents in the possession of PREMIUM TIMES have shown.
Members of the committee as well as their representatives, repeatedly withdrew sums totalling about N226m, in violation of the money laundering law.
Part 1, Subsection 1 of the Money Laundering Act 2011 provides that “No person or body corporate shall, except in a transaction through a financial institution, make or accept cash payment of a sum exceeding- (a) N5,000,000.00 or its equivalent, in the case of an individual; or (b)N10,000,000.00 or its equivalent in the case of a body corporate.”
It also said, “Any Financial Institution or Designated-Financial Institution that fails to comply with the above provision by making the appropriate compliance report to the regulatory authorities commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not less than N250,000:00 (Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) for an individual and not more than N1,000,000 (One Million Naira) for a body corporate, for each day that the contravention continues unabated.”
The two committees however ignored the provisions even though their members participated fully in the enactment of the law.
The Senate Committee was headed by Ahmed Lawan, a ranking senator, representing Yobe North Senatorial District.
Other members of the Senate Committee were Abdul Ningi (Vice Chairman), Olubumi Adetunbi, Abdulminin Hassan, Yusuf Musa, Umaru Dahiru, and Ayo Akinyelure.
Others are Domingo Obende, Nwagu Igwe and Barata Ahmed.
The House Committee was chaired by Solomon Adeola, then representing Alimosho Federal Constituency of Lagos State. He is currently senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District.
There were 41 other members of the committee.
The documents, which this newspaper obtained exclusively, showed that the two panels engaged in banking transactions totalling N2.90 billion in two accounts – 0022999033 and 0022999040 – domiciled in the Guarantee Trust Bank, some of which breached the provisions of the Act.
Altogether, members of the committees made 139 withdrawals totalling N1.45 billion from the two accounts.
Several of the withdrawals were made in gross violation of the nation’s money laundering law.
A total of N112million withdrawn from Account Number 0022999033 and N115million withdrawn from Account Number 0022999040 appeared an infringement on the law.