Friday, December 4, 2020

Economic crime watchdogs sniff 58 money laundering cases

BY CEDRIC SWANKA

Atleast 58 cases of money laundering have been detected and are currently under investigations while one is already at the courts of law, thanks largely to an amendment of laws relating to economic crimes curbing.

The Office of the Receiver, established in September 2017 has also been credited for turning the tables in handling what are also known as white collar-crimes.

To date, the Office of the receiver is reported to have confiscated vehicles valued at P8.5 million and immovable property – being residential and commercial plots, houses and buildings valued at just over P38 million.

Nonofo Molefi ÔÇô who this past week was acting minister of Defence, Justice and Security, said that the amendment of the Corruption and Economic crimes Act has improved efforts by law enforcement agencies in combating crimes relating to money laundering and other economic crimes in the country.

Molefi further said that the total value of all confiscated assets was pegged at P159 million by the Receiver Office.

He said Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Botswana Police Service have since established special units dedicated to the investigation of money laundering cases and identification of assets linked to money laundering.

The two institutions have also adopted a parallel investigation approach, wherein all cases in which predicate offences are investigated are also subjected to money laundering investigation. The Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has also established a unit responsible for the forfeiture of assets linked to money laundering and terrorism financing.

At the same time, law enforcements agencies in Botswana ÔÇô the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime, Botswana Police Service, the Botswana Revenue Service, the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services and Financial Intelligence Agency have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) intended to enhance coordinated efforts between them with respect to combating money laundering and counter terrorism financing.

The Corruption and Economic Crime Act was amended to introduce Section 44B which enables the DCEC to share information with the aforementioned counterparts.

Molefi was answering questions from specially elected legislator Mephato Reatile, who asked that the Ministry of Justice, Defence and Security update Parliament, on whether there have been any cases of money laundering investigated and prosecuted after the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

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