Review of the Financial Crimes Act has been singled out as one of the effective measures if the country is to register progress on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).
Acting Director General of the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) Vincent Chipeta said this during a Parliamentary Public Hearing on Laws Relating to Combating Financial Crimes in Lilongwe.
According to Chipeta, a 2019 report adopted by the Council of Ministers of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) noted that there are deficiencies in the current Act that need to be reviewed.
He said: “The progress made so far in addressing the AML/CFT deficiencies is slow and requires urgent attention. The ESAAMLG Council of Ministers has noted this development has since written the country through the minister of finance expressing a concern on this situation.”
“The Council has called upon the country to implement measures to address key AML/CFT deficiencies through means such as expediting the review of the Financial Crimes Act, among others,” said Chipeta.
Responding to the plea, the national assembly through its Legal Affairs Committee welcomed the proposal saying that it will be a significant step towards fighting financial crimes at all levels in the country.
“Actually as Members of Parliament (MPs) we welcome the proposal to have the Financial Crimes Act amended so that some of the loopholes that are there are actually sealed,” said Chipeta.
“This is in order to give the FIA more powers to fight financial crimes and terrorist financing,” said the Committee`s chairperson Peter Dimba.”
The Bill seeking amendments to the Financial Crimes Act has not been brought before the current sitting of the august House as it is currently going through the necessary measures.
Since September 2019, Malawi has managed to have the Financial Crimes (Money Laundering) Regulations issued in May 2020.
And according to Chipeta, the Regulations have helped to significantly address some deficiencies relating to the application of administrative sanctions for non-complying reporting institutions and requirements on Customer Due Diligence and requirements on Wire Transfers.