|01ABUJA2606||2001-10-12 16:54:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Abuja|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L ABUJA 002606
1.(U) Classified by Ambassador Howard F. Jeter for reasons
1.5 (b) and (d).
2.(C) The September 11 attacks on the U.S. have focused
added attention on the inadequate money laundering controls
in Nigeria. I have made this a top priority in my recent
meetings with President Obasanjo (ref a), the Vice President
and several advisors and ministers responsible for security
and law enforcement issues. The good news is that all of
these officials recognize the deficiencies and the attendant
security threat presented by money laundering by terrorists
and organized crime groups. Nigeria is particularly
vulnerable to money laundering given its economy's enormous
cash liquidity derived from oil revenues. The President has
pledged full cooperation and is moving ahead with both new
legislation to improve the existing but inadequate money
laundering law and he is creating a "Financial Crimes
Commission" that would provide a much needed centralized
coordinating body for GON-wide anti-money laundering efforts
and a "financial intelligence unit" as call for by the FATF.
3.(C) I ask that Nigeria be given priority in dispatching USG
money laundering experts to provide assistance to foreign
governments. As you know, Nigeria has been declared a
"non-cooperating country or territory (NCCT)" by the FATF --
a step predating September 11. INL has made clear its
commitment to assisting the GON in improving money laundering
controls by the obligations of INC funds ($125,000) for this
purposed in the FY2000 Letter of Agreement -- also predating
the current crisis.
4.(C) I understand that INL is probably beseiged with similar
requests for assistance. Yet, we risk losing a rare window
of opportunity if we do not respond with assistance within
the next two to three months. The Ministry of Justice is
already reviewing the existing money laundering law and
beginning to draft revisions. It is also drawing up the
design for the Financial Crimes Commission (FCC). If we
could provide TDY money laundering advisors to Nigeria in the
near-term, we would stand to make a lasting impact on the
GON's money laundering control regime. If we wait longer, we
could miss the current momentum with the GON, for which we
are partly responsible. The law will have been amended and
the FCC created without our input.
5.(U) Please let me know if we can extend assistance to the
GON on this important law enforcement and security front in
the immediate future.
6.(U) On a separate issue, we are proposing mid-November as
the time frame for the Washington meeting of the Bilateral
Law Enforcement Committee. I am seeing the Attorney General
(who would lead the GON delegation) on October 16 and I would
like to propose this time frame for his consideration.
Please let me know if these dates suit your schedule. We
plan to send you a meaningful agenda for the Committee