Thursday July 31 2014

Govt sets up authority to track money laundering

File Photo

File Photo 


Government has set up a new institution to fight suspicious money transactions that could be fuelling terrorism. The institution, Financial Intelligence Authority, to be supervised by the Finance ministry, comes after the enactment of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2013.

President Yoweri Museveni assented to the Anti-Money Laundering Act on October 2, 2013 and commenced on November 1, 2013.

Money laundering is the process of turning illegitimately obtained property into seemingly legitimate property and it includes concealing or disguising the nature, source, location, disposition or movement of the proceeds of crime and any activity which constitutes a crime under section 116 of the Act.

While addressing the media in Kampala about the new authority, the interim Executive Director Mr Sydney Asubo, explained that section 18 of the Money Laundering Act ensures compliance of the Act by having suspicious money transactions reported to them for investigations.

Mr Asubo, also the head of legal at the IGG , explained that the new institution targets financial institutions like the banks, Forex bureaus, micro finance institutions, insurance companies, Uganda Investment Authority, real estate agents and NGOs, among others that will be required to report to them any suspicious money transactions.

Explaining the suspicious money transactions phenomena that the authority will be investigating, Mr Asubo gave an example of a civil servant who has been earning a monthly salary of Shs2 million for the past one year and suddenly, his/her account is accredited with Shs200 million, “Then the concerned bank management has to report such a suspicious transaction to the authority.”

Mr Asubo further explained that once such a suspicious transaction is reported, the authority will investigate and refer the investigation to the CIID and counter terrorism directorate of police to carry out further investigations with a possible prosecution of the suspect (s)but if they establish that the money was genuinely received, they will abandon the same.