Maputo, 11 Aug (AIM) – Financial bodies found to be involved in money laundering will be fined between two and ten million meticais (from 31,000 to over 156,000 dollars) under the revised Law on Preventing and Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, approved on Thursday unanimously by the Assembly of the Republic (AR), the Mozambican parliament.
The law, proposed by the government, also establishes penalties and sanctions for terrorist acts and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
“The sanctions will be between one to five million meticais when the crime is committed by a non-financial body”, said Justice Minister Helena Kida, as she introduced the bill. “Donations and other financial contributions destined to non-government organizations must be through bank transfer in the name of the organization or through a cheque”.
She added that it is essential to ensure that the legislation preserves individual rights, and ensures due process of law and the opportunity for defence and appeal for those accused of such crimes.
“After learning about the terrorist or terrorist organisation, it is up to the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), in coordination with the Foreign Ministry, after notifying Mozambique’s Financial Intelligence Office (GIFIM) to designate the terrorists, with all the necessary identification information to be published within 24 hours in the Official Gazette”, Kida said.
“The information on terrorists must contain the full name, other names by which the terrorist is known, such as a nom de guerre or nickname, gender, date and place of birth, nationality, and country of permanent residence, tax identification number, areas or countries of activity”, the minister added.
The information should also include the full name of any organisations involved, including any acronyms or other current or previously used names, the logo, the address where the head office is registered, the nature of the business, the main sources of funding and known assets.
“In cases of requests for removal from the list, the PGR must decide within ten working days on the action to be taken”, she said.
The need to amend the law arises in response to the dynamics of organised crime that has been of great concern in recent years, taking into account the Islamist terrorism that has been plaguing the northern province of Cabo Delgado.
Amending the law is part of the government’s drive to have Mozambique’s name removed from the “grey list” of countries drawn up the international Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The amendments are in line with the recommendations made by an FATF committee, which is expected to analyse the Mozambican legislation in the first half of next year.
The FATF website explains that the grey list “identifies countries that are actively working with the FATF to address strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing. When the FATF places a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, it means the country has committed to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes and is subject to increased monitoring”.
As of June 2023, there were 26 countries on the grey list, including Mozambique
Much more serious is the “black list”. This names countries “with serious strategic deficiencies” in countering money laundering and terrorist financing. For countries identified as high-risk, “the FATF calls on all members and urges all jurisdictions to apply enhanced due diligence, and in the most serious cases, countries are called upon to apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system from the ongoing money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing risks emanating from the country”.
As of June, there were only three countries on the black list – Iran, Myanmar and North Korea.