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Seeking the light

Seeking the light
CONFIDENT: Peggy Serame

Botswana hopes to be removed from grey listing next month

Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Peggy Serame says the country is quietly confident of being removed from its current greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and European Union (EU) blacklisting.

This follows a visit by an entourage from FATF and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG).

Speaking during a press briefing on Tuesday, Minister Serame said the team will compile a report to be submitted at a meeting next month where recommendations will be made to remove Botswana from FATF grey-listing and subsequently EU blacklisting.

“When you are removed from FATF grey-listing, usually you are subsequently removed from EU blacklisting. So are we are waiting for the results in October and we are very hopeful,” declared Serame, who took over the Finance reigns in April.

The Minister believes the signs of a positive outcome are promising as when they met with the FATF and ESAAMLG teams, it was acknowledged that the country is making progress.

She revealed FATF also suggested that should Botswana encounter any challenges towards addressing its compliance deficiencies, the institution, together with other countries, are ready to assist.

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“While waiting for October, we continue to make progress. We have been in another meeting as ESAAMLG where were met as the council of Ministers where it was also said Botswana is making much progress.”

Before this, to comply with FATF and EU demands, in 2018 Botswana passed 25 laws at a go, followed by an additional six.

In a recent sitting that closed last Friday, parliament passed the Financial Intelligence Amendment Act, which Serame explained will put more focus on beneficial owners.
By beneficial owner, she said more emphasis will be made on tracing the exact owner of the company.

Botswana was previously found to be lacking in areas of risk and mitigation coordination; supervision and enforcements; analysis and dissemination of financial intelligence; United Nations Security Council Resolutions and terrorism financing investigation among others, leading to the country being grey-listed by FATF and blacklisted by EU last October.

“It is very important for investors and other stakeholders to have absolute confidence in our financial system,” concluded the Minister, adding this is why Botswana has enacted many laws to address compliance deficiencies.

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