Sunday, January 24, 2021

Botswana grey listed for money laundering, financing terrorism

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Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi says Botswana has been given until 2020 to rectify its grey listing following negative feedback from two bodies tasked with fighting money laundering and terrorism financing.

Officially opening this year’s judicial conference on ‘Botswana Legal Framework on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing’ Kgathi said the country as a member of the Eastern and Southern Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) and affiliate of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has failed to live up to expectation in the fight against these threats.

“In spite of our commitment to compliance with ESAAMLG and FATF recommendations, Botswana experienced feedback that there were deficiencies in respect of our compliance with the measures and standards of the aforesaid bodies we are affiliated to,” he said.

The minister explained that the negative assessments caused the country to be grey listed and given a reprieve up to 2020 to remedy the deficiencies that had been noted.

He pointed out that deficiencies were noted in the Trust Property Control Act of 2018 and as a result, the act is currently being amended.

“This is one of government’s commitment to act swiftly and decisively when it comes to issues of fighting money laundering and terrorist financing. It is absolutely imperative that our country should never be perceived as a conduit for money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

Kgathi said the rectification of grey listing will aid the ease of doing business and to grow the economy from resource-based to knowledge-based.

On issues pertaining to money laundering and terrorist financing, the minister said they are at the apex of the world agenda and that many governments and jurisdictions have become more aware of the dangers that money laundering and financing of terrorism pose.

He noted that the international community through various bodies has committed to assist and support governments in taking action against the threats as the country has not been spared, which was a serious haemorrhage to its economy.

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