US embassy cable - 01ABUJA2793

NEW FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION TO TAKE ON TERRORISM

Identifier: 01ABUJA2793
Wikileaks: View 01ABUJA2793 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Abuja
Created: 2001-11-01 11:39:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: SNAR PTER KCRM NI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 002793 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
DEPT FOR INL AND AF 
TREASURY PASS TO FINCEN 
 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/01/2011 
TAGS: SNAR, PTER, KCRM, NI 
SUBJECT: NEW FINANCIAL CRIMES COMMISSION TO TAKE ON 
TERRORISM 
 
 
1.(U) Classified by Timothy D. Andrews, Charge' d'affaires 
for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d). 
 
 
2.(C) Summary:  On the eve of President Obasanjo's November 2 
visit to Washington, the GON added terrorism to the tasks of 
a planned Financial Crimes Commission (FCC).  The draft law 
establishing the FCC gives it sweeping powers to control and 
coordinate disparate GON agencies' efforts to fight money 
laundering, financial crimes and terrorism, as well as to 
investigate and prosecute offenders.  Not surprisingly, given 
the Ministry of Justice's role in drafting the legislation, 
the Attorney General would play a key role in controlling the 
new Commission.  The addition of terrorism to the FCC's 
mandate seems artificial and contrived.  It was probably done 
as a symbol of political commitment to anti-terror efforts. 
End Summary 
 
 
3.(C) RNLEO October 31 obtained a copy of the GON's draft law 
creating a "Financial Crimes Commission."  (copies will be 
hand carried to Washington prior to the November 9 bilateral 
law enforcement committteee meeting).  This draft is the 
product of several months of work by the Attorney General's 
staff and until recently the document did not contemplate the 
FCC being the leads anti-terrorism agency. On October 29, 
however, the Presidency reportedly directed that the draft 
law be amended to incorporate anti-terrorism efforts. Changes 
were quickly made -- a "rush job" confided an official in the 
National Security Advisor's office.  The law now creates the 
"Terrorism, Economic and Financial Crimes Enforcement 
Commission"  (TEFCEC). 
 
 
The Commission Players 
---------------------- 
 
 
4.(SBU) The draft law provides for a Commission headed by a 
Chairman who "shall be a serving or retired member of any 
government security or law enforcement agency" appointed by 
the President for a term of four years.  Members of the 
Commission will include representatives of the following 
agencies:  the Ministry of Justice; the Nigerian Police 
Force; the National Intelligence Agency; the State Security 
Service; Nigerian Telecommunications; the Nigerian Postal 
Service; and the Central Bank of Nigeria. (Comment: Though 
not cited, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency is part 
of the Ministry of Justice. End Comment)  In addition, "four 
eminent Nigerians" with experience in finance, banking or 
accounting will serve as members of the Commission.  The 
draft legislation calls for staffing of the Commission with 
officers seconded from government security or law enforcement 
agencies.  Within the Commission will be four units:  general 
and assets investigations; legal and prosecution; research; 
and administration. 
 
 
Commission's Investigative Functions 
------------------------------------ 
 
 
5.(SBU) According to the draft law, the TEFCEC will be 
responsible for "the investigation of all serious financial 
crimes including advance fee fraud, money laundering, 
counterfeiting, illegal charge transfers, futures market 
fraud, fraudulent encashment of negotiable instruments, 
computer credit card fraud, contract scam, etc. of and above 
the value of naira 5,000,000 or its equivalent." 
(approximately USD 44,000)  The TEFCEC is charged with 
enforcing the following existing laws:  a) the Money 
Laundering Act of 1995; b) the Advance Fee fraud and Other 
Related Offences Act of 1995; c) the Failed Banks (Recovery 
of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act of 1994; d) 
the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act of 1991; and 
e) any other law or regulations relating to terrorism, 
economic or financial crimes. 
 
 
6.(SBU) Also cited is a specific responsibility to adopt 
"measures to identify, trace, freeze, confiscate or seize 
proceeds derived from terrorism, economic and financial crime 
related offences or the properties the value of which 
corresponds to such proceeds.  Similar to powers granted in 
existing laws, the Commission can forfeit seized assets, but 
usually only upon conviction.  A new tool granted to the 
TEFCEC is a Declaration of Assets Form that must be completed 
by any person arrested for committing an offence under the 
TEFCEC act.  On this form, the person must disclose all 
assets and properties and the form is then forwarded to the 
investigations unit of the Commission for full investigation. 
These assets are then subject to an interim forfeiture order 
(seizure).  The failure to fully disclose assets and 
properties on the form is a crime subject to up to ten years 
imprisonment, according to the draft TEFCEC law. 
 
 
Coordination Role of Commission 
------------------------------- 
 
 
7.(SBU)  The draft law stipulates that the TEFCED will be 
responsible for "collaborating with government bodies both 
within and outside Nigeria."  Also, "taking charge of, 
supervising, controlling, coordinating all the 
responsibilities, functions and activities relating to the 
current investigation and prosecution of all offences 
connected with or relating to terrorism, economic and 
financial crimes, in consultation with the Attorney General 
of the Federation; the coordination of all existing 
terrorism, economic and financial crimes investigating units 
in Nigeria; maintaining a liaison with the office of the 
Attorney General of the Federation, the Nigerian Customs 
Service, the Immigration and Prison Service Board, the 
Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance 
Corporation, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, all 
government security and law enforcement agnecies and such 
other financial supervisory institutions in the eradication 
of economic and financial crimes." 
 
 
8.(C) Comment:  While we leave thorough analysis of the draft 
legislation to legal experts in Washington, the financial 
crimes portion seems to reflect some thought and study on 
both the structure of the Commission and its designation of 
investigative and prosecutorial powers.  Moreover, it seems 
to address the major concerns of the FATF and international 
community in improving centralized control and coordination 
of GON-wide anti-money laundering efforts and in creating an 
entity to respond to international requests for information. 
The sudden addition of terrorism to the Commission's mandate, 
is ill-fitting. In presenting RNLEO with a copy of the 
revised draft, the Legal Assistant to the National Security 
Advisor commented that in their haste to  amend the draft law 
to cover terrorism-related crimes, the drafters appear to 
have slapped the term "terrorism" into the draft text 
repeatedly without defining it or terrorist crimes as has 
been done in the draft with financial crimes.  This seems to 
be a a major legal flaw.  This addition is probably inteded 
to symbolize the GON's commitment to anti-terrorism efforts. 
 
 
Andrews 

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