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ICPC tasks NBA on synergy against money laundering, terrorism financing

Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, has charged members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to closely work with law enforcement agencies in curbing money laundering and terrorism financing.

He made the appeal on Tuesday at the yearly general conference of the association in Abuja. Owasanoye, who was part of a panel of discussants on ethics and professional conduct of lawyers, commended the NBA president, Yakubu Maikyau and the leadership for raising the pertinent issues.

The session focused on the new NBA rules and guidelines on Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, as well as underlining the role of the legal profession in the fight against the vices.

According to the ICPC boss, it has become inevitable for discussions on ethical conduct of legal practitioners to be brought to the table due to perceived lack of cooperation between legal practitioners and anti-corruption agencies.

While quoting Rule 74(3) of the Rules of Professional Conduct for Legal Practitioners (RPC), he stated that it was mandatory for lawyers to report suspicious activities bordering on money laundering and related offences.

Stressing the refrain, “If you see something, say something,” Owasanoye added that it was no longer fashionable for lawyers to turn a blind eye to sources of their clients’ wealth, and by extension, their own legal fees.

He maintained that legal practitioners have a duty to show care and concern when dealing with public officials and politically-exposed persons, advising that public interest must override all other considerations.

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