SADC fortifies bloc against money laundering

SOUTH AFRICA: THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) has inaugural the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) Committee.

This committee will facilitate harmonisation of AML/CFT policies, laws and regulatory practices of SADC Member States, in line with international standards including the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.

Ministers of Finance and Investment recommended the operationalisation of this AML/CFT Committee to support effective and proportional action against money laundering and financing of terrorism in the region as guided by Annex 12 of the Protocol on Finance and Investment.

Attended by 13 member states gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa for three-days, from February 21-23rd this year, they deliberate at the auspicious occasion, where they elected Mr Clement Kapalu, Director General of Financial Intelligence Centre in the Republic of Zambia as the first Chairperson of the SADC AML/CFT Committee.

In his maiden speech, Mr Kapalu underlined that the Committee will herald an era to combat the infestation of financial vices which inhibit the development of the SADC region through coordination and cooperation.

Mrs Debra Port-Louis, Deputy Director, Financial Intelligence Unit in the Republic of Seychelles was elected as Deputy Chairperson.

“The operationalisation of the SADC AML/CFT Committee underscores the commitment of each Member State to collectively enhance measures against regional money laundering and terrorist financing” she said.

Both the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the SADC AML/CFT Committee will serve for a period of two years (2024 – 2026). Voting was conducted on a simple majority of the Member States that were in attendance and based on a “one country, one vote” basis.

The SADC AML/CFT Committee consists of relevant senior officials from each Member State responsible for AML/CFT matters.

The SADC Secretariat in collaboration with the Committee of Central Bank Governors Secretariat (CCBG), Committee of Insurance, Securities and Non-Banking Authorities (CISNA) Secretariat and the ESAAMLG Secretariat will facilitate, coordinate, and perform the Secretariat functions for the SADC AML-CFT Committee.

Among others, the Terms of Reference of the SADC AML-CFT Committee as well as its Work Plan for the next two years were reviewed and approved.

The European Union funded Support to Improving the Investment and Business Environment (SIBE) Programme, which is implemented by the SADC Secretariat, is providing resources to support Member States in undertaking development of AMLCFT Strategies and Action Plans and other strategic frameworks to address deficiencies.

Nonetheless, most Member States have domesticated the AML/CFT strategies as guided by the FATF.

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