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In recent years, and especially since the events of September 11, 2001, World wide efforts to combat money laundering and economic crimes have assumed heightened importance. Money Laundering and economic crimes are global problems that not only threatened security, but also compromise the stability, transparency, and efficiency of financial systems, thus undermining economic prosperity. The success of a criminal enterprise is based on its ability to sanitize its ill-gotten gains by moving them through lax or corrupt national financial system. The laundering allows criminals and terrorist to operate freely, using their financial gains to expand their criminal pursuits and fostering illegal activities such as corruption, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, smuggling and financing of terrorism. Money laundering and economic crimes can have devastating economic and social consequences for countries, especially those in the process of development and those with fragile financial systems. The economy, society and ultimately the security of countries used as money laundering platforms are all imperiled.
Money laundering and other types of illegal activities have significant socio-economic development and financial costs. This is true of illicit activities, which usually compromises growth and development. We need to access the links between the complexity in grand corruption, money laundering, corruption in government, the political class, and corruption in procurement, and the challenges in a country's financial sector. Does it favour development or discourage it.
The Nigerian economy had witnessed a serious jump in the level of financial crime since 1986, with the liberalization of the financial sector that accompanied the implementation of the structural Adjustment program (SAP). The SAP was initially planned for two years, during which it was projected that all the structural problems of the economy would have been addressed. This, clearly, was too short a period in which to achieve any significant results. The SAP ran through the 1990s, when it was variously adjusted to fit the political agenda of the different military regimes. The extensive liberalization of the economy that has been undertaken since then encouraged economic crimes in general and financial crime in particular, especially of the "white collar" type. Consequently, and in an effort to implement the 1988 United Nations Convention against illicit Traffic in Narcotic
Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (The Vienna Convention), Nigeria Criminalized white collar crimes, through the following pieces of legislation. The failed Banks Recovery of property Act of 1994, Advance Fee Fraud, and other Related Offences Act 1995, Money Laundering Act 1995, Money Laundering Act 2003, and
the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004.
The author believes that money laundering poses a great danger to the health and existence of not only individual banks but to the entire banking system and an emerging economy like ours. It is quite hard to establish a hard statistics of casual relationship between money laundering and economic performance in Nigeria, but we can draw from the experience of some Latin American Countries, which were
notorious for drug trafficking, as compared to those of Malaysia and Singapore, two countries with the most
stringent drug and money laundering laws and very resilient and stable financial systems.
The work is divided into five chapters. The first chapter is introductory analysis comprising of over view of the study, statement of the problems, objectives of the study while chapter two focuses attention on the empirical literature as it relates to the study. Research design and methodology in chapter three The methodology was treated under the following sub-headings, the sources of data, description of data and procedure of the data collection. Chapter four treats the analysis of the new methods to launder money and illicit financial flows, their effects on the financial institutions and the economy of the host country.
Summary of research findings, conclusion and recommendations drawn from the findings are treated in chapter five.
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