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Governors may lose control of LG funds over new NFIU guidelines

Governors may lose control of LG funds over new NFIU guidelines
May 06
15:55 2019
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State governors may lose control of local government funds if the new guidelines of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) become effective.

The guidelines would make the joint account system currently in use only exist for the receipt of allocations from the federation account but not for disbursement.

The new measures, it was learnt, were introduced by the current administration to restore LGA’s financial autonomy.

This comes less than a year after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the NFIU bill into law, thus separating the agency from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The new guidelines, according to sources, were introduced to check treasury looting by local government officials as well as alleged diversion of LGA funds by governors.

The new measures would place a daily cash transaction limit of N500,000 for each of the LGAs, while these would be registered and monitored by the NFIU through e-payment module.

A source privy to the development said Modibbo Hamman-Tukur, NFIU director, will on Monday lunch the comprehensive guidelines which also target government, corporate and individual financial transactions.

“Governors will also lack control over the utilisation of these funds of local governments,” the source said, adding: “The joint account system in some states will only exist for the receipt of federal allocations meant for local governments and not disbursement.”

In a statement, Ahmed Dikko, NFIU acting spokesman, said the agency is committed to fighting money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation of weapons.

The statement read: “Significant measures to be implemented by the NFIU in the near future will include full implementation of the National Sanctions regime to all detected areas of vulnerabilities within our systems. Other areas include issuing guidelines, advisories etc. that will affect cash transactions processes of local, state, federal governments and bureau de change etc.

“The Unit will also release new reporting requirements on suspicious transactions for terrorism prone areas and on suspects taken into custody in violent and flashpoint communities to check vices of terrorism, proliferation of small arms, kidnapping, ethnic violence, cattle rustlings etc. with the view to providing credible intelligence for law enforcement and national security.

“Finally, efforts of the Federal Government to set up the beneficial ownership data base for politically exposed persons and public servants will be completed and expanded to capture additional necessary areas.”

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