Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe received over 400 cases of suspicious transactions linked to money laundering in the financial services sector in the second half of last year.
This is contained in the bi-annual report of the Bank Use Promotion and Suppression of Money Laundering Unit for the period July 1 to December, tabled in Parliament recently by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
“Most of banks operating in Zimbabwe are carrying out or have carried out their respective institutional or internal money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment at the instance of the Financial Intelligence Unit, which is resident within the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Minister Chinamasa said.
“This has resulted in improved capacity to identify suspicious transactions which saw the Financial Intelligence Unit of the RBZ receiving a total of 474 Suspicious Transaction Reports. This represented 2,5 percent increase in number of reported cases as compared to the same period in 2015.”
Minister Chinamasa said over 80 percent of the suspicious transaction reports were lodged by the banks, with money transfer agencies and an insurance company accounting for the remaining 20 percent.
He attributed the increases in the number of cases reported to the increase in monitoring suspicious transactions and in inter-institutional co-operation within the financial services sector.
Minister Chinamasa said non-financial sectors like real estate, casinos, legal profession, precious stone and precious metal industry, and others such as Chartered Accountants, Public Accountants were lagging behind in implementing the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Financial Terrorism safeguards.
“It is particularly apparent when it is noted that not a single report was made by a participant of these sectors over the period concerned,” he said.
“The concern by the Financial Action Taskforce is that sometimes money is laundered through trust accounts of professional bodies.”
Minister Chinamasa said these sectors presented a high money laundering risk to the financial system of Zimbabwe and there was need to ensure that they were in full compliance with the requirements on anti-money laundering.
“We are obliged and directed that we should make amendments to our laws to make sure that these are more transparent than they have been in the past,” he said.