Malawi catches up on Financial Crime Bill deadline: Parliament passes bill

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Financial firms in Malawi can now afford a smile after Parliament passed the Financial Crime Bill – catching up with the 15th February deadline.

The bill aims at repealing the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crime and Terrorist Financing Act currently being used to hear cashgate cases in court which is weak as it only attracts maximum 10 years imprisonment.

This legal framework seeks to create an independent Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) replacing the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

Parliament

Parliament passes Financial Crime Bill.

It also introduces enhanced penalties for offences including money laundering, terrorism financing and financing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction with a penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of MK500 million, and revocation of business licence for a legal person.

Financial firms will now be able to transact businesses internationally following the passing of the bill.

In December 2016, Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe tabled the bill in Parliament but members referred it to the house’s committees on legal affairs and Budget and Finance for further scrutiny before it is passed into law.

Minister of Justice Samuel Tembenu said the passing of the bill is a right indication towards addressing issues faced by the financial firms and having an all crimes approach and removes the threshold for predicate offences in relation to offences provided for in the Bill.

“The bill introduces enhanced penalties for these offences: money laundering, terrorists financing and financing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and have the penalty of life imprisonment for the natural person and a fine of K500 million and the revocation of business licence for legal person,” Tembenu said.

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