Saturday, October 24, 2020

Botswana forms Financial Intelligence Agency

The Botswana government has established an agency that will combat financial crimes like terrorism, human trafficking and money laundering.

The new organ, called the Financial Intelligence Agency, will be fully operational by April next year.

It will specifically analyze financial transactions that occur in the country, and also depend on information received from the public or informants.

Ellen Madisa, the Deputy Secretary for Financial Policy in the Ministry of Finance, said on Monday that the agency will not necessarily sniff into people’s bank accounts, adding that the banks will be obliged to divulge information if required to.

The agency will hire two experienced analysts from abroad on a two year contract.
Madisa said Botswana is a member of East and Southern African Anti Money Laundering Group, which is made up of about 14 African states.

She said Botswana has been under pressure to formulate laws that will deal with illegal acts, like financing terrorism, human trafficking and money laundering.
Madisa warned that the agency will not hesitate to impose penalties if any person or entity is found to be in the wrong.

“Anybody found carrying cash amounting to over P10, 000 and fails to account for it will be liable to a fine. We want people to put their money in banks so that its origins can be easily traceable,” said Madisa.

The FIA will conduct public education sessions to teach the public about their mandate.
Madisa said FIA will need a cash injection of P25 million to start operating.

Rose Seretse, the Director of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, welcomed the FIA, saying it will complement their operations.

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