The country’s Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) has joined the international world in efforts to combat financial crimes as the Eastern and Southern Africa regional body has approved Malawi’s Mutual Evaluation Report.
Government has since said it has started enhancing its legal framework, with regulations supplementing the Financial Crimes Act set to be promulgated by monetary fines and other punishment by end of this month.
In a statement FIA director general Atuweni Juwayeyi-Agbermodji disclosed that the Council of Ministers of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) on September 6, 2019 met in eSwatini and approved the country’s Mutual Evaluation Report on implementation of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations aimed at combating financial crimes.
“The achievements of Malawi contained in this report are a clear manifestation of the Malawi Government’s commitment to combating money laundering, terrorist financing, financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and other financial crimes,” reads the statement.
Receiving the ESAAMLG Report in eSwatini, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Bright Msaka said the development demanded that government should have political will to come up with a strong policy and strategy to deal with the predicament.
“I am glad to say that since then we have never been the same in the way we identify, investigate and prosecute money laundering and associated predicate offences including the confiscation of proceeds of crime,” he said.
According to the statement, some of the areas Malawi did well to earn the approval included criminalisation of money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and offences that are a component of money laundering such as corruption, fraud, tax evasion, illegal externalisation of foreign exchange, illegal wildlife trade, smuggling, and human trafficking.
Malawi also scored well in sharing of financial intelligence to help with initiation or continuation of investigation and prosecution of various financial crimes among the Financial Intelligence Authority, Malawi Police Service, Anti-Corruption Bureau, Malawi Revenue Authority, Director of Public Prosecutions, and Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services.
The last mutual evaluation for Malawi on anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) took place in 2008.