IT is important that Zimbabwe is not allowed to become a country that can be used for money laundering, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (Icaz) president Eric Bloch told participants at an
anti-money laundering workshop this week.
Speaking at the end of a three-day workshop organised by Icaz, Bloch said the world had become more conscious of the evils of money laundering than it once was, particularly following the September 11 attacks in the United States.
Money laundering could be used, he said, to finance a wide range of illegal activities including terrorism, revolutions, drug trafficking, tax evasion and other crimes.
A recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) report said the illicit economy could account for as much as 2-5% of gross domestic product (GDP) worldwide although no one knew exactly how much money was laundered every year.
If one country had a weakness in its system then there was a risk that terrorist finance could be channelled through it and that it could be used for money laundering.
“We must not allow Zimbabwe to become that country,” he said.
In the light of international developments it was vital that Zimbabweans had a deep awareness of the disastrous consequences of money laundering and the need to ensure Zimbabwe did not become an enabling environment for it, he said.
It was in that context, he said, that Icaz had decided to organise the anti-money laundering workshop.
The workshop was also part of the institute’s drive to promote good corporate governance issues. More were planned on a number of issues including the monetary policy.
The next workshop would be on information security.
Vulnerability in the present information technology age to distortion and corruption of information was frightening, as was the lax attitude that many companies and organisations had towards information security measures, he said.
Icaz would initially hold a breakfast meeting on this and then follow it up with a full-scale workshop.
The anti-money laundering workshop facilitator was South African Institute of Corporate Fraud Management president Bart Henderson.
Henderson has also facilitated Icaz workshops on corporate fraud management in the past and has become a regular contributor to the welfare of orphans in Zimbabwe.
He has been donating $1 million a month to Alpha Cottages in Masvingo since January and is increasing that to $2 million a month from this month.
Briefing journalists on the workshop, Henderson said he had been surprised to discover that in terms of up-to-date legislation regarding money laundering, Zimbabwe was among the best.
There was need, however, to promote awareness among those who were not legislators.
The workshop had been helpful, he believed, to officials of banks, government organisations and various companies.