Uganda’s financial system is now robust enough to adequately identify and fight money laundering and the financing of terrorism, prompting the country’s removal from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Grey List of countries that face challenges of illicit money transfers.
In a statement to the press, Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said Uganda’s exit from the FATF and the International Cooperation Review Group (FATF/ICRG) review process means the country will no longer be subjected to the FATF’s on-going Global Ant-Money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) compliance processes, easing the way for correspondent banking and other investment and financial flows in the country.
“All countries are required to periodically update the FATF Secretariat on the steps they have taken in that regard. Therefore, being on the FATF Grey List amounted to an indictment on Uganda’s financial system and was therefore a major constraint to correspondent banking; Foreign Direct Investment; and other financial flows to and from Uganda, and thus presented a significant risk to our quest to accelerate economic growth and development outcomes,” Minister Kasaija says.
According to the Minister, FATF urged Uganda to continue working with the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) to sustain improvements in, and effectiveness of, Uganda’s Anti Money Laundering /CFT Regime.
Minister Kasaija says to fight money laundering, government has adequately criminalized terrorist financing, as well as establishing and implementing an adequate legal framework for identifying, tracing and freezing terrorist assets.
He says government has ensured effective record keeping requirements as well as put in place a fully operational Financial Intelligence Unit.
Among others, he says government has ensured appropriate laws and procedures with regard to international cooperation for the FIU and supervisory authorities.
According to Kasaija, Uganda has signed and ratified all the relevant UN Conventions on money laundering, put in place The Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Act, 2017, Anti-Terrorism Act, 2002 has been amended and The Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Act, 2015. He says government also has laws that govern capital markets and insurance sector as it fights money laundering, not leaving out laws to curb narcotic drugs business.
According to the statement, the Financial Intelligence Authority, in collaboration with other government agencies has put up ML /FT National Risk Assessment (NRA), which provides recommendations and an Action Plan and assigns specific responsibilities to particular public and private entities with respect to AML/CFT.