Botswana is fighting tool and nail to meet the compliance standards of Financial Action Task Force (FAFT) after the country was given from January to December 2020 to implement fully the strategic deficiencies through six (6) item action plan that has been presented by International Cooperation Review Group (ICRP).
The revelation was made by ministers of Finance and Economic Development Kenneth Matambo and of Justice, Defence and Security Shaw Kgathi at a joint media briefing on Friday. Kgathi said out of 40 FAFT recommendations Botswana was found out to be deficient in 38 recommendations. This he said means that in some instances Botswana was partially compliant, in others compliant or largely compliant as opposed to fully compliant saying its worrying trend.
FATF, a global anti-money laundering organisation founded by the world’s richest countries, placed Botswana on its list of countries that are vulnerable to money laundering last October.
The FATF conducts reviews of global compliance with Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) standards, alerting countries of deficiencies, particularly those that may affect international financial systems.
Kgathi said financial crime activities particularly those related to money laundering has been rising in Botswana adding that this puts Botswana’s ability of trade competiveness in doubt.
As part of improving compliance picture, he averred that during the year 2018 pa parliament session enacted a total of 25 anti-money laundering and counter financing of tourism law. “We are keen on improving our image. This was made in compliance with the FATF recommendations on the prevention the laundering proceeds of all crime, the financing of terrorism, and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,’’ Kgathi said.
Some of 25 the anti-money laundering fighting legislations enacted include the Proceeds and Instruments of Crime Act (PICA), Customs Act, the Arms and Ammunition Act to mention a few.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Kenneth Matambo, said Botswana has been put under observation of FATF’s International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) for a year time. He said the country was expected to address the technical compliance issues by passing relevant laws as well as demonstrate effective implementation of anti-money laundering measures.
Matambo shared that there are six (6) that Botswana has to address in order to graduate from monitoring by the ICGR one of them being tasked with the investigation of terrorism financing.
In this regard he stated that Director General of Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) has been appointed recently and is currently putting in place actions to fully operationalize the agency. “The Financial Intelligence (FIA) is required to improve and enhance the use of the financial intelligence by the relevant Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). The FIA and LEAs continue to capacitate relevant officers on these matters by adopting new strategies to cooperate,” he said.
The Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry also in the past parliament passed bills set to comply with international laws to improve compliance as well as business competitiveness.
The Companies and Registration of Business Names Acts has been passed to meet the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) rules as they introduced that a company discloses beneficial owners.
Minister Bogolo Kenewendo said this was to ensure that companies are not used as catalysts for spearheading acts of money laundering or financing terrorism, world rising crime scourges.