GOVERNMENT has gazetted the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Bill which seeks to strengthen the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe by giving it autonomy to effectively combat the vice.
The Bill is also meant to ensure Zimbabwe complies with 40 recommendations by the Eastern and Southern African Anti-Money Laundering Group where Harare was found to be wanting.
Promulgation of the proposed law is consistent with Government under President Mnangagwa’s thrust to ensure zero tolerance for corruption, as it moves to quickly turn around fortunes of the economy.
Clause 4 of the Bill, set up by the Financial Intelligence Unit, formerly under the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Unit under Bank Use Promotion Act, will continue in operation, but elevate its head to director-general from a director.
“The unit shall be deemed to be in the administrative establishment of the RBZ having the following special features, namely that, (a) it shall be headed by a Director-General appointed by the Governor of the RBZ in consultation with the Minister (of Finance), (b) it shall consist of such other members of staff as may be necessary for the performance of its functions, who shall be appointed by the Director-General,” reads the Bill.
“The budget of the unit (i) shall be approved by the Board of the Reserve Bank, (ii) be managed by the Director-General independently of the Reserve Bank, but be subject to internal audit by the Reserve Bank and be audited by the auditors of the Reserve Bank.”
The Bill also spells out the conditions under which the DG shall leave office and his qualifications, among other pertinent issues.
“Except as provided for in section 6B (2), the unit shall have operational independence from the Reserve Bank and shall not in the performance of its functions under the Act, be subject to the direction and control of the Minister or any other person or authority,” reads section 6A (f) of the Bill.
The functions of the unit are also spelt out in the Bill.
“Subject to this Act, the function of the unit shall be (a) to receive suspicious transactions reports, cash transactions reports and other financial data from financial institutions, designated non-financial businesses or professions or from any other sources,” reads the Bill.
Other functions include monitoring and ensuring compliance with the Act by competent supervisory authorities, financial institutions and designated non-financial businesses or professions.
“The Minister, after consultation with the advisory committee may in writing give the Director-General directions with regard to policy to be adopted by the unit in the performance of its functions,” reads the Bill.
The proposed law empowers the unit to have access to information from any financial institution, designated non-financial business or profession or law enforcement agency.
The Bill will amend section 27 of the National Prosecuting Authority (Chapter 7:20) section six of the Criminal Matters (Mutual Assistance Act) (Chapter 9:06) section 87 of the Deeds Registries Act (Chapter 20:05) section 210 of the Customs and Exercise Act (Chapter 23:05).
It will also amend section 5 of the Income Tax Act Chapter 23:06) section 34A of the Revenue Authority Act (Chapter 23:11), section 360 of the Companies Act (Chapter 24:03) and the Bank Use Promotion Act (Chapter 24:24.).