Sunday, July 3, 2022

New FIA director want to keep Botswana out of ‘Blacklists’

The new broom at the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) – Bophelokgale Soko has shared her roadmap which includes ensuring that Botswana does not get back to blacklists.

FIA is responsible for requesting, receiving, analyzing and disseminating financial information to relevant authorities with the aim of strengthening efforts of national and international intelligence, investigation and enforcement agencies in pursuing the global fight against Money Laundering/ Financing of Terrorism and related crimes.

Despite Botswana showing significant improvement and being removed from the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) grey-listing, FIA says the job is far from being over.

Botswana was removed from the FATF grey list after showing significant strategic improvement in its AML/CFT/CFP legal framework and effectiveness. This was a result of the concerted effort of all the stakeholders in this area.

Soko says she has been in the financial sector regulation and supervision sphere for a significant time, a thing that made her settle for her new job.

“I saw the job specifications and liked the challenges they presented. Since I met the qualifications and the competences required, I applied, was interviewed and got the job.”

Soko was appointed to the new role in February this year, after the departure of Dr Abraham Sethibe. Since then, the role of Director General has been active on interim basis within the organization and President Mokgweetsi Masisi made his decision following an intensive interview process which saw 9 people apply, 2 people being shortlisted and one person being appointed this year.

Soko did not share how long she will be with FIA but on her qualities and what she brings to the organization, she revealed “I bring the financial sector academic, administrative and professional subject matter experience and a teachable and team spirit. I will be with the Agency for as long as my services are required and I am adding value to it.”

Soko revealed that her tenure at the organization will be guided by the FIA act and that standards are not lowered.

“The FIA played its role effectively as well and I intend to ensure that the standard is not lowered. The mandate of the Financial Intelligence Agency is clearly spelt out in the Financial Intelligence Act 2022 and my target is to fulfil the mandate as per section 6,” Soko said.

On public perception towards FIA, Soko said “It is important for the public to understand the role of FIA as indicated in the Act. The FIA is an Administrative Financial Intelligence Unit and does not investigate financial crimes, rather, it receives, analyses and disseminates financial intelligence to authorities with a mandate to investigate.”

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper