National risk assessment near completion

Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi told Parliament last week that the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) will soon complete the National Risk Assessment that will be used to develop and implement a national anti-money laundering and terrorism financing system. This he said, would aid in minimizing terrorism financing possibilities and prevent abuse of national funds in the country.

“The National Risk Assessment is currently being conducted by the FIA, and will be concluded in November this year. The overarching objective is to review the current environment relating to the matter and the outcome of the assessment will guide the development and implementation of a National Anti-money Laundering and Terrorism Financing System which implementation plan will lead to overall deterrence and prevention of the abuse of national financial systems, and to minimize risks of opportunistic terrorism financing,” he said.

According to the Minister, the results of the assessment together with the implementation plan will be used by the financial industry in particular, as well as other stakeholders to aid in the adoption of a risk based approach and compliance to the Financial Intelligence Act of 2009 and Counter Terrorism Act of 2014.
Member of Parliament for Jwaneng-Mabutsane, Shawn Nthaile had asked the Minister when an assessment of risk on money laundering and terrorism financing was conducted. The Member of Parliament also wanted to know if there were any records or prosecutions of money laundering and terrorism in Botswana, and which industries had been identified as key money laundering vulnerabilities.

Responding to another question on how many cases had been detected and what action was taken against perpetrators, the Minister stated that the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has only prosecuted six cases of money laundering between 2008 and 2014. He said in three of the cases, the accused persons were convicted. However, no cases of terrorism were ever prosecuted by the DPP. He also noted that there is currently no record of terrorist threats in the public domain that are known to his ministry.

The World Bank has attached high importance to money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment. The assessment is an international requirement to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. States are required to identify, assess and understand the money laundering and terrorist financing risks that they face in their jurisdiction in order to introduce a risk based approach.