Security cluster 'snookered' by anti-money laundering move

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. (Pic: Gallo Images)
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. (Pic: Gallo Images)

Cape Town – National Treasury is in the process of setting up a committee to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism in line with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), said Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.

In response to a parliamentary question from David Maynier, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on finance, Gigaba said in addition to the inter-departmental committee which will be chaired by Treasury director general Dondo Mogajane, a separate structure will engage with private sector institutions.

“The committee will (initially) consist of representatives of National Treasury, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, the Department of Home Affairs, the State Security Agency, the South African Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority, the South African Reserve Bank, the Financial Services Board and the Financial Intelligence Centre,” Gigaba said.

The committee will among other things coordinate South Africa’s response to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – an inter-governmental body established to combat money laundering and act on the financing of terrorism. The FATF monitors countries’ compliance with international obligations through mutual evaluations (also called peer reviews).

Gigaba said the committee will also be tasked with informing discussions on changes to legislation where required and align and harmonise financial investigations, prosecutions and asset forfeiture as a result of money laundering and the financing of terrorism

The committee will also assess South Africa’s compliance with international standards and make recommendations for improvements where necessary.

Maynier said in response to the news about the soon-to-be-established committee that the move is a “welcome development”.

“The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masuta, and the security cluster have been desperate to get their hands on the Financial Intelligence Centre, which is one of the most effective weapons in the fight against corruption in South Africa.

“However, they seem to have been snookered because the newly established inter-departmental committee, which will be responsible for coordinating, and therefore controlling, South Africa’s response to the Financial Action Task Force, will be now be chaired by the director general of National Treasury.” 

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