The executive bill on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Between Nigeria and Other Foreign Countries, SB 224, 2017, has been passed by the Nigerian Senate.

The proposed law seeks to formally legalise international assistance to tackle criminal matters like money laundering, asset acquisition from proceeds of corruption and other forms of illicit financial flows.

It was read for the third time and subsequently passed by the Senate on Tuesday.

The passage followed the presentation of the joint report on the bill by the Senate committees on foreign affairs, chaired by Monsurat Sunmonu (APC-Oyo); judiciary, human rights and legal matters, chaired by David Umaru (APC-Niger) and anti-corruption, chaired by Chukwuma Utazi, PDP-Enugu.

President Muhammadu Buhari sent the bill to the Senate on January 27, 2016, along with another one on Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition

The bill seeks to get relevant international assistance in cases of money laundering and provide framework for “other countries to assist in provision of and obtaining of evidence, making of arrangements for persons to give evidence”.

“The bill also hopes to elicit international assistance in criminal investigations, recovery, forfeiture or confiscation of property in respect of offences.

“The restraining of dealings in property or the freezing of asset that may be recovered, forfeited or confiscated in respect of offences.

“The execution of request for search and seizure, the location and identification of witnesses and suspects”.