Lawyer and human rights defender, Femi Falana, on Monday urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prosecute any lawyer implicated in money laundering.
In response to a recent comment made by EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, Mr. Falana, Nigeria’s Senior Advocate, SAN, delivered the opinion in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency.
> Mr Bawa has vowed to shine a spotlight on everyone involved in financial fraud, including lawyers.
Mr Bawa had told the session that it would no longer be acceptable for politicians to use their account managers, lawyers, gem dealers and other recognized non-financial companies and professions to launder their funds.
So, in line with the new Money Laundering Act 2022, he had hinted at the anti-corruption agency’s plans to ‘prosecute those’ who support such financial crimes by stepping up its investigation through its unit. special control against money laundering, SCUML.
In his response, Mr. Falana, who called the remark a mere allegation, stressed that such serious accusations must be supported by reliable evidence.
Also read: ‘Ignore Ngige, pay university lecturers full salary’, Falana tells Buhari
“As a senior lawyer, I deal with the evidence; if the EFCC alleges that lawyers are involved in money laundering, with deep respect, it should bring such a lawyer to justice.
“That’s because, in other parts of the world, lawyers and other professionals are called gatekeepers and the law treats them harshly; the law is the same in Nigeria.
“So if the EFCC chairman has his evidence (and I know he has his evidence), then his duty is to charge these lawyers in court, so that the threat of money laundering can be seriously fought.
“I’m not just talking about lawyers; the usual gatekeepers are lawyers, accountants, bankers and real estate agents.
“I am aware that the EFCC has had reason to charge guards, including lawyers, in court for money laundering.
“Some are on trial, some have been tried, and so where there is evidence linking lawyers to money laundering, that lawyer should be charged in court,” he said.
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