Legal Practice: – Where Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CFT) compliance obligations arise for legal practitioners under the new Professional Conduct Rules (RPC) for Practitioners of law in Nigeria
The new Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) for legal practitioners in Nigeria, set to come into force on January 1, 2024, have been released with a new set of ethical considerations, particularly in the areas of anti-money laundering. money and financing. Compliance obligations in the fight against terrorism (AML/CFT) which will be considered to have become pending in certain situations and which now bring lawyers closer and closer to the classification of Designated Non-Financial Businesses/Professionals (DNPFP) which falls under Nigeria’s new Money Laundering (Prohibition) Law.
This article will cover the following topics:-
– Objectives of the new CPR in matters of AML/CFT as they affect legal practitioners.
– When the obligations of lawyers in this regard arise.
What are the objectives of the new CPR regarding AML/CFT compliance requirements imposed on legal practitioners?
– Promote respect for the rule of law.
– Promote the duty of confidentiality and client/attorney privilege towards their clients and provide standards of overall ethics and best practices of the profession to ensure that legal services are not misused by criminals or Legal practitioners are not unwittingly involved in money. money laundering and terrorist financing.
– Internally self-regulate members of the legal profession and, where appropriate, refer offending lawyers to the appropriate disciplinary authorities, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Legal Practitioners Act.
What is the scope of the new CPR?
– The RPC applies to all lawyers whose names appear on the roll and as described in section 2 of the Legal Practitioners Act.
When do legal practitioners’ AML/CFT compliance obligations arise as prescribed in the new CPR?
– The lawyer’s obligation to declare and comply arises when –
a) Act as founding agent of legal entities.
b). Acting as or causing another person (agent) to act as a director or secretary of a company, partner in a partnership or similar position in relation to other legal entities.
vs). Provision of a registered office, a professional address or accommodation, a correspondence or administrative address for a company, a partnership or any other person or legal arrangement.
d). Acting or causing another person to act as trustee of an express trust or exercising the equivalent function for another form of legal arrangement.
When will AML/CFT compliance obligations be deemed not applicable to lawyers under the CPR?
– This obligation does not apply to a legal practitioner who only provides notary services or merely certifies the execution or authority of a power of attorney or other instrument (not prepared primarily by the legal practitioner) which can facilitate:
A). Purchase and sale of real estate or business entities.
b). Manage client-owned money, securities and other assets.
vs). Opening management of bank, savings or securities accounts.
d). Organization of the contributions necessary for the creation, operation or management of companies.
e). Creation, operation or management of trusts, companies, foundations or similar structures.
What recordkeeping obligations are imposed on lawyers regarding general practice operations and AML/CFT compliance?
– A lawyer must maintain for at least 5 years an up-to-date record of necessary information about his clients that will assist in the identification of that client and maintain or process such information in accordance with applicable data protection and client/professional requirements . favor the laws and rules applicable in Nigeria.