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Lawyers Collaborate With Criminals To Conceal, Invest Illicit Funds – NFIU Alleges

The Chief Operating Officer of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Dr. Emmanuel Shotande, has raised concerns about lawyers allegedly aiding criminals to invest and cover up the proceeds of their illegal activities.

Speaking at a Nigerian Bar Association workshop in Abuja, Shotande questioned some lawyers’ accountability, pointing out instances where they assist criminal clients in purchasing real estate to launder or conceal proceeds of crimes.

Shotande urged lawyers to exercise diligence when dealing with politically exposed individuals, cautioning against aiding them in concealing their illicit activities, and advocated for cooperation among the NBA, NFIU, and the EFCC.

At the event, NBA President Yakubu Maikyau (SAN) emphasized the importance of lawyers adhering to the NBA anti-money laundering guidelines: rules of professional conduct 2023 when dealing with financial and money laundering issues.

He charged lawyers to stay at the forefront of fighting corruption in the country as their profession has uniquely bestowed the responsibility on them.

Maikyau said “Collaboration is the best way to go and we have identified certain gaps, in the discharge of our responsibilities under the law and so we took steps to incorporate the provisions to the guidelines assessment into the rules of professional conduct because lawyers are the ones that must take the lead in whatever is done in every society and that is simply because we are privileged to be the ones that have been instructed and taught the subject of law and these are all matters of law. So fighting corruption is a function of law, if you understand what the law says you shouldn’t do then you are able to avoid what the law says you shouldn’t do.

“Who is in a better place to guide and direct than the lawyers? So the lawyers will have to understand this law so that they can give direction and advance the cause of the law.

“There is also the implication in the angle of how this whole thing forces us as a nation. There is a cause for the nation to also pursue. The lawyers must be at the forefront of doing that so we have done that to demonstrate our responsibility, that we are cautious of this responsibility. We are prepared to self-regulate ourselves in terms of the process of fighting corruption. There is no better organ to do that collaboration with than those that are given that responsibility by law to fight corruption.”

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