A Financial Intelligence Bill aimed at providing a comprehensive legal framework to address money laundering issues was tabled in Parliament last week.
Finance and Development Planning minister Baledzi Gaolathe tabled the bill. He said the bill is also aimed at establishing a Financial Intelligence Agency, which will receive, analyse and disseminate information to various stakeholders.
These objective are in line with the government's commitment to contribute to international efforts geared at fighting money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Gaolathe said they decided to draft the proposed law after realising that the country needed to strengthen the implementation of various pieces of legislations dealing with money laundering in general. The intention is to also implement the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) comprehensive plan that sets out a universal framework for anti-money laundering efforts. FATF is an international body, whose objective is to develop and promote a global response to combating money laundering and financing of terrorism.
Gaolathe said a Financial Intelligence Agency deals with financial information which mainly comes from the financial sector and other institutions hence the international trend is to place it under the ambit of the Ministry of Finance.
A director who will report directly to the minister responsible for Finance will head the agency. This part also sets out the recruitment processes of officers of the agency.
Part III, deals with the establishment of the National Financial Intelligence Committee.
The main functions of the committee is to assess the effectiveness of policies and measures to combat financial crime. It would make recommendations to the Minister for legislative and policy reforms in respect of financial crime. Promote coordination among the agency, investigatory authorities, supervisory authorities and other relevant institutions.It would also formulate policies to protect the international reputation of Botswana with respect to suppression of financial crime and advise the minister of matters relating to financial crime.