FRANCISTOWN: Customers of First National Bank of Botswana (FNBB) find themselves troubled with complying with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorist Financing (CTF) regulations.
They expressed their distress after a presentation about AML and CTF laws during the FNBB fraud symposium. One of the concerned attendees and also the director of Ebat Consultant, Ogomoditse Maruapula said there is a need for the bank to identify its role as a bank. He further questioned why FNBB would be interested in the money he is depositing into his own business account. “Would I be right to assume that FNBB is being used to investigate me? If so it would be a risk for me as a customer to put my money into your bank,” he said.
The curious businessman also emphasised that it is high time FNBB disclosed its role as a bank to its customers and clarify whether they are working as someone else’s watchdogs. Owner of a warehouse and electrical supplies company, Joe Slink expressed that he was surprised to have received an invitation for FNBB symposium as he does not bank with them. Slink revealed that he only banks with Bank of Baroda and Standard Chartered. “I wonder why I was even invited to this gathering because I don’t have an account with FNBB. I find it very disturbing to be part your symposium,” he said.
He disclosed that the only connection he has with FNBB is his customers. “Most of my customers use eWallet to pay me, which means that when they pay excessive amounts of money for their order through the digital wallet I might be blacklisted according to the new laws,” he said. Slink felt that it is not appropriate for the bank to approach individuals or companies after being grey listed, but believes that they should be notified well in time before being grey listed.
One of the attendants also posed a question on whether compliance with the new law would not jeopardise Botswana and lead to a parallel economy where people seek to borrow money from people than banks. He further observed that countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America are not bearing any fruits from the Act as they encounter a parallel economy through the promotion of the black market. Mothusi Obakeng of FNBB risk crime management said that there is always a risk of AML and CTF when customers deposit money into their bank.
He further said compliance with the AML and CTF is not a bank requirement, but rather a demand from the Financial Intelligence Agency. Earlier on in his presentation, Obakeng said in an attempt to fight against AML and CTF there is a need for FNBB to conduct a customer due diligence through the application of know your customer (KYC). Obakeng said there is also a need for customer compliance requirements of which one of them is that FNBB conducts customer screening and reports suspicious transactions to relevant authorities. He further said Botswana is likely to be blacklisted in 2022 if they do not comply with the AML and CTF.
“These laws are an international standard and we need to adhere to them or our country would be blacklisted,” he said. He added that if it happens Botswana is blacklisted they are going to suffer because they would not be able to work collectively with other banks internationally.