ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian lawmakers passed a bill aimed at cracking down on money laundering by urging foreign countries where currency crooks are hiding to cooperate in prosecuting them, a senior official said on Tuesday.
According to the bill, Nigeria may ask any country where a money launderer is hiding to help it prosecute the offender, or prosecute that person itself. In the second case, Abuja would supply the country with evidence to support a conviction.
Development in the OPEC member, which has Africa’s largest economy, has been stunted by endemic corruption. Most people live on less than $2 a day despite the country’s vast energy wealth, much of which has been plundered by a rich elite.
“This act will facilitate the needed cooperation with other states to prevent individuals from escaping prosecution by fleeing to another country,” said Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The bill was originally presented by President Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected in May 2015 after vowing to fight corruption.
The 74-year-old president is on medical leave in Britain for an unspecified ailment. He has handed over power to his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, in his absence.
Reporting by Camillus Eboh; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Tom Heneghan