By Boniface Cheembe Executive Director
SACCORD Statement Welcoming Government of the Republic of Zambia in Taking Steps to Review Laws to Counter Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation Regime and Anti-Money Laundering in Line with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations
The Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) has taken note and welcomes the steps taken by the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) through the 30th April 2020 press statement issued by the Chief Government Spokesperson on Cabinet approval of the introduction of Bills in Parliament in order to facilitate the enactment, amendment or repeal of some laws in compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations.
The FATF is an Inter-Governmental body established in 1989 by the G7 responsible for the formulation of policies in combating global anti-money laundering and terrorism financing.
The laws approved by Cabinet include The Anti-Terrorism and non-Proliferation Act No. 6 of 2018; Banking and Financial Services Act No. 7 of 2017; Casino Act, Cap 157; Companies Act No. 10 of 2017; Financial Intelligence Act No. 46 of 2010; Lands (Perpetual succession) Act, Cap 186; Non-Governmental Organization Act No. 16 of 2009; and Securities Act No. 41 of 2016.
SACCORD would like to commend the Government for this progressive step of implementing the FATF recommendations as this will enable the Zambian Government to reduce the exposure to terrorism financing and money laundering which is critical to the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the country.
SACCORD is aware that the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) members and observers are committed to the effective implementation and enforcement of internationally accepted standards against money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation as per the FATF Recommendations. Zambia is one of the founding members of the group and having leadership that drives towards the implementation of the FATF recommendations is both encouraging and welcome.
According to the Mutual Evaluation Report for Zambia done in June 2019, Zambia has a commendable grasp of its terrorism financing risk. In addition, it was reported that it effectively detected, mitigated and interrupted terrorism financing occurrences through well-coordinated and collaborated joint operations.
The report also recognizes the reasonable steps which have been initiated to categorize Non-Profit Organizations (NPOs) in terms of their vulnerability to terrorism financing risk although the inspection monitoring tool in use does not include mechanisms of risk exposure to terrorism financing.
In view of the progressive developments above, SACCORD would like to appeal to the Government to create platforms that will engage with the NPOs on the methodology that the Government will use to categorize the NPOs. This is important as it will create confidence and partnership in the NPOs that this process will not be used as a tool to silence Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) working around advocacy.
We make this appeal against a background observed that in some countries where recommendation 8, which provides for the regulation of NPOs not be used as conduits of terrorism and money laundering, has been fully implemented, Governments have used it interfere with the work of human rights organizations as well as other organisations working in the governance sector.
We therefore urge the Government to take extra caution in the implementation of recommendation 8 and that the process should involve NPOs as has been the case in the review of the Non-Governmental Organization Act No. 16 of 2009 which Cabinet approved to the satisfaction of the NPO fraternity in Zambia.
As SACCORD, we believe that the FATF subject is not familiar in Zambia and several CSOs might be caught unaware just like it happened when Government decided to enact the NGO Act of 2009 which is a product of the FATF recommendation 8.
In response to this, SACCORD with support from the International Centre for Non-Profit Law (ICNL) will conduct activities around the country popularizing the FATF recommendations among CSOs. This will enable several CSOs to take keen interest in the mutual evaluation report and participate in the process of enactment, amendment or repeal of the said laws as compliance requirement by FATF.