Applicability of anti-money
laundering laws to legal
practitioners in Nigeria
NBA v. FGN & CBN
Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK, and
Accord Legal Partners Nigeria, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to review the recent judgement of the Federal High Court
exempting Nigerian lawyers from anti-money laundering (AML) obligations and to proffer suggestions
as to ways of complying with international standards.
Design/methodology/approach – An analysis of the case and judgement was undertaken and a
commentary on the effect of the obligations on lawyers was given. As a result of the analysis,
suggestions were made to satisfy regulatory requirements while recognising the sanctity of the legal
profession and the professional responsibilities members owe to their clients.
Findings – AML obligations are tasking and may impact negatively on rights of both lawyers and of
their clients. However, with some measures taken by both regulators and lawyers, loopholes can be
comfortably covered without leaving the legal sector exposed to criminal intents.
Research limitations/implications – There has not been any appeal on the case, and therefore the
paper may not be conclusive.
Practical implications – Very relevant recommendations were made and, if taken up, may provide
a meeting point for both parties and achieve the key purpose of detecting and/or preventing money
Originality/value – This is the rst academic paper to analyse the current case and to provide
relevant suggestions on the matter.
Keywords Law, Regulation, Money laundering, Legal profession
Paper type Case study
In 2001, Nigeria was included in the list of Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories
(NCCT) by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), . The “blacklist” featured
countries with poor anti-money laundering/counter terrorism nancing (AML/CFT)
regimes and was accompanied with a word of caution to the international community
to deal cautiously with any listed country. This had negative impacts on the economies
of countries listed thereon. Concerted efforts were made by the Government of Nigeria
to improve the image of the country in that regard, leading to the enactment of the
Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act (MLPA) of 2004 and the Economic and Financial
Crimes Commission (EFCC) (Establishment) Act of 2004.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
Journalof Money Laundering
Vol.19 No. 4, 2016
©Emerald Group Publishing Limited