Money laundering fuels serious crime and terrorism. It harms societies by enabling a wide range of criminal activity such as drugs and arms trafficking, human trafficking and terrorist attacks.
This achievement only happened due to the hard work and determination of officials who recognised that changes needed to be made. The Botswana government has given a clear, ongoing, and robust commitment to continue to take action to strengthen its systems. As the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog, the FATF welcomes this commitment. The FATF’s regional partner in the region, ESAAMLG, will continue to monitor the country’s progress and assess whether new measures are in line with the FATF’s international standards that more than 200 countries and jurisdictions have committed to implement.
The threat from criminal and terrorist groups is constantly evolving, so all countries need to remain vigilant. Going forward, I strongly encourage Botswana to continue to prioritise the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. It is imperative for authorities to ensure that all sectors appropriately address the risks identified in the country’s National Risk Assessment. Law enforcement agencies should extend their use of financial intelligence, especially concerning complex and high-end money laundering cases. Financial supervisors should focus more on risk understanding, monitoring and internal capacity-building to improve their abilities to detect illicit finance. This work is challenging. But the political will demonstrated by Botswana’s leaders means I expect the country to continue to take the necessary steps. I welcome the assurances of the President, Minister of Finance, Minister of Justice and many other high ranking government ministers for their support in this area. I want to warmly thank the Botswana government and the country’s anti-money laundering professionals who strive every day to prevent serious crime and hold offenders accountable. I know they will continue to work tirelessly to develop and enhance their capabilities. By doing so, Botswana will ensure that corruption, drug trafficking and fraud are not profitable enterprises and that terrorists cannot raise, move or use funds to carry out attacks, whether in Botswana or elsewhere. This will help make the lives of people in Botswana safer and fairer, and help create stronger, sustainable, inclusive economic growth.
*Pleyer is President of the global money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force. This article has been availed exclusively to Mmegi