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Govt to Waive Restrictions on Financial Intelligence Information Sharing

The move which seeks to curb money laundering and terrorist activities is entrenched in an amendment to the anti-money laundering law presented by state Minister for Finance David Bahati to parliament this afternoon.
Anti-Money Laundering Bill, 2019 Memorandum
The government is seeking to facilitate the unlimited exchange of information between the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) and related authorities across the world.   

The move which seeks to curb money laundering and terrorist activities is entrenched in an amendment to the anti-money laundering law presented by state Minister for Finance David Bahati to parliament this afternoon. 

Bahati stated that parliament was supposed to remove restrictions on exchange of information on money laundering and financing of terrorist activities, between Uganda and other qualifying countries, in the initial amendment of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2013. 

The Act allowed the Financial Intelligence Authority to disclose information to foreign agencies if it suspected that the information is relevant to the investigation or prosecution of a money laundering offence. However, the use of the information was restricted to authorities and states that have signed an agreement with Uganda.  

Instead, parliament inserted a new section limiting the exchange of information to only competent authorities, which presented a contradiction in policies. 

Now, the government argues that limiting the exchange of information between Uganda and ‘competent authorities,’ undermines efforts to fight money laundering and financing of terrorist activities. 

Bahati adds that revoking the section will enable Uganda to satisfy the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards on sharing of information and conform to international best practices on sharing of information. The government argues that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) equally views the restrictions on information sharing as a hindrance to the fight against money laundering.   

The amendment will also facilitate Uganda’s admission into the Egmont Group, a united body of 159 Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs). The Egmont Group provides a platform for the secure exchange of expertise and financial intelligence to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. 

The Bill has been sent to the finance committee for scrutiny.