CEDA employs technology to fight financial crime

09 Dec 2018

BY KABELO SEITSHIRO

As a measure to tighten screws on-money laundering the Citizen Entrepreneurship Development Agency (CEDA) says it is developing a framework to safeguard its reputation and to prevent being used as a channel for money laundering or other illegal financial activities.

In an interview with the Sunday Standard, CEDA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Thabo said as part of the Know Your Customer (KYC) the agency seeks to acquire anti-money laundering detection software.  He added that the software is in line with international standards, and would be able to instantaneously connect the dots in transactions in ways that would be arduous to the naked eye and would reduce faulty human intervention.

“The software will assist in identifying customers, and where there is suspicious transactions, even if they spanned various branches, would be easily and automatically identifiable, making it easy to safeguard Agency assets, and also easy to refer suspicious cases to law enforcement,” he said.

Thamane stated that CEDA is listed as a specified party under Schedule I of the Financial Intelligence Act adding that as such it is the subject of mandatory duties and obligations stipulated in various parts of the ACT (IV and V) and therefore under sight of the Financial Intelligence Agency.

The CEDA head honcho said the Act requires CEDA to comply with set standards of Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing (AMLCTF).  He stated that in compliance with the various requirements of the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) and the Financial Actions Task Force also under FIA, CEDA developed an Anti Money Laundering framework.

He further said while CEDA has not had issues of fraudulent financial cases in general, the agency is alive to the fact that people with criminal intent continually seek new and increasingly sophisticated means to game the system.  Thamane said It is against this backdrop, and further commitment of CEDA to embrace new technologies in safeguarding its assets that the Agency seeks to acquire a tool that allows for proactive detection.

“To avoid fraud, CEDA has been proactive in vetting suppliers.  CEDA adopted the policy of paying suppliers directly to ensure that money disbursed went directly to the project requirements, and removing the responsibility of managing the funds from the promoters,” he stated.

The CEO  pointed out that where operating capital is disbursed directly it is under very strict conditions to avoid misappropriation and misuse.

As part of the requirements of FIA, Thamane said, CEDA monitors payments and triggers an observation or investigation where repayments are made without commensurate business activity, adding that this further applies to denominations of payments.  He gave an example that if a client makes small payments so as not to trigger disclosure levels, the frequency of payment without being supported by revenue generated from the business would alert management for a need to further investigate and alert FIA.