April 19—Uganda has become better placed to exit the Grey List, as designated by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), after parliament recently passed the Anti-money Laundering (Amendment) Bill 2017.
Basically, countries on this list are considered ‘jurisdictions with severe deficiencies’ that enable people to exploit their financial systems to pay for terrorist attacks. However June is the earliest when Uganda will get official FATF notification during the next plenary session.
Henry Musasisi, who chairs the parliamentary committee on finance, planning and economic development said, “Though the law previously provided for the prompt freezing, seizure and forfeiture of assets and property suspected to be linked to terrorists or terrorist activities, it did not define who a terrorist is and or what amounts to terrorism or a terror act. This made dispensation of the law very difficult warranting the new amendments to the Anti-money Laundering (Amendment) Bill 2017.”
Kenya and Tanzania exited the Grey List in 2014, after legislators passed a raft of laws that assured FATF, the two countries remain vigilant in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. Uganda already had anti-money laundering laws in place, but given the increasing global concerns surrounding the financing of terrorism, in 2012, FATF came out with a new set of recommendations that had to be incorporated into law.
Musasisi said the new amendments give clear definitions on who is a terrorist and what amounts to an act of terror and this makes easier to apply the law.
The amendments also provide for the carrying out of risk assessments by accountable persons; to provide for the identification of customers and clients of accountable persons; to provide for procedures relating to suspicious transactions; to harmonize record-keeping requirements and exchange of information obligations with international practice to provide for a Anti-money Laundering Committee and related matters.
In particular, Musasisi said amending the definitions of ‘terrorism’ and ‘acts of terrorism’ was very import because it provided for the inclusion of the revised international aspects envisaged by the United Nations Convention against terrorism and for related purposes. On the Grey List, Uganda has been keeping company with the likes of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.
He said the Bill seeks to provide for revised measures which are specifically designed to strengthen and improve Uganda’s counter-terrorism legislative framework to comply with international obligations and respond to terrorism threats.