Government is responding to recommendations by FATF: Lamola

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Justice Minister Ronald Lamola says South Africa will do everything possible to avoid being grey listed – which he says would have dire consequences for foreign investment into the country.

Lamola says grey listing risks reducing investor confidence and has a negative impact on the financial well-being of the country.

He was addressing investors at the Rand Merchant Bank Big Five Investment conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.

Lamola says government has undertaken five high level and effective actions, in response to the flagging by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is a global financial money laundering watchdog.

He says, “Obviously we are concerned.  That’s why you would have seen that we’ve started processes to respond to the recommendations that have been made by FATF and I’ve outlined most of them, including amendment of various legislations, but the key thing is commitment –  which we’ve shown. And the fact that some of them are already in Parliament is a clear sign that the government is committed to respond to these challenges of illicit cash outflows.”

Money laundering matters

Lamola says a tripartite agreement was concluded amongst the National Prosecuting Authority, Financial Intelligence Centre & the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigative Unit (Hawks) to fast-track criminal and financial investigations in money laundering matters.

He says the forum has six cases in its radar, three of which are MLA’s containing a Money Laundering element. These cases have been included in the top ten committee’s priority list and are being closely monitored.

Lamola says the Organised Crime Unit continues to participate in multidisciplinary stakeholder initiatives focusing on investigation and prosecution.

“Six organised crime cases are enrolled, inter alia relating to the smuggling of gold across the borders of South Africa, the dealing in gold to the value of R775 million, in which a second-hand jeweller dealer, a gold dealer, a refinery, and companies are prosecuted.

In addition, several project investigations are being conducted in this sphere. In relation to the tax prosecutions involving money laundering, nine cases were finalised.  In three of the cases, direct imprisonment was imposed,” says Lamola.

Lamola says Anti-Money Laundering Desk Strategy has been formulated.

“The National Prosecuting Authority Anti-Money Laundering Desk has formulated an Anti-Money Laundering Desk Strategy which covers both the investigation and prosecution of money laundering and terrorist financing. The strategy is aimed at dealing with money laundering in all its forms, but it is particularly focused on money laundering as a critical enabler of serious and organised crime, corruption, and terrorism by the National Prosecuting Authority through the work of its anti-money laundering desk,” says Lamola.

DOCUMENT: Justice Minister Ronald Lamola’s speech at the Rand Merchant Bank Big Five Investment conference: