Govt reinforces anti-money laundering laws

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GOVERNMENT has come up with additional legislation to support the anti-money laundering law which will see the prosecution of suspects, the forfeiture of ill-gotten assets and the channelling of proceeds towards the fighting of white-collar crime, businessdigest has learnt.

By Melody Chikono

The new measures were introduced through the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Amendment of Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act and Exchange Control Act Regulations, 2018.

The Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act, enacted in June 2013, received presidential consent this year amid an increase in cases of money laundering and financing of terrorism in the country, strengthening the existing legislation in line with international best practice.

The law comprises composite legislation aimed at criminalising money laundering and the financing of terrorism in Zimbabwe in line with the 40 recommendations of the Financial Action Taskforce of the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group.

The financial intelligence unit of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is currently working with Treasury to tackle illicit financial flows.

Permanent secretary in the Labour Ministry Welfare Judith Katerere told delegates attending an Insurance Institute of Zimbabwe (IIZ) conference in Victoria Falls this week that new laws would come as offenders remain unprosecuted under current laws, eroding investor confidence.

“We have been attending meetings with the Financial Intelligence Unit of the RBZ who are working with the Treasury on the anti-money laundering legislation. One of the issues that they have raised is that people are not being persecuted. If people are not prosecuted, it kills confidence. However, government is now moving towards seeing that people get prosecuted for such crimes. Going into the future, we are going to see situations where anyone charged under these laws will have their assets forfeited and the proceeds being used to fight crime. This is not unique to Zimbabwe as this is the trend the world over,” she said.

Katerere said Zimbabwe had no choice on the issue as it is a signatory to the East and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering protocol.

This year saw the arrest of bigwigs, among them former cabinet ministers, in line with the ruling Zanu PF’s resolutions to clamp down on all forms of graft and to strengthen the effectiveness of national mechanisms to prevent corruption, but no one has been imprisoned as yet over these corruption issues.

Under the new regulations a High Court order — an unexplained wealth order — can be obtained to force a person to explain their wealth if they own a property worth at least US$10 000.

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