Uganda knocked off FATF grey list of money laundering and terrorism financing

Uganda has been removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list of money laundering and terrorism financing, a move that will enhance foreign investors’ trust in the East African country.

According to Uganda’s Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), the country was placed on the FATF grey list in 2020 because of concerns regarding “deficiencies in Anti-Money Laundering and Countering-Terrorism Financing measures.”

 “Since then, Uganda has implemented a series of rigorous reforms and demonstrated substantial progress in aligning its financial regulations with international standards,” FIA said.

FIA was optimistic the removal from the grey list would enhance the country’s trust among foreign investors who want to set up business in Uganda.

“Uganda’s successful exit from the FATF Grey List not only reinforces the country’s reputation as a responsible member of the global financial community but also enhances its attractiveness to investors and facilitates greater access to international financial markets,” FIA notes.

“Uganda remains committed to sustaining momentum in its efforts to strengthen its AML/CFT framework further and contribute to global efforts to combat financial crime,” the authority added.

The announcement of delisting Uganda was made in Paris by FATF president T.Raja Kumar during a meeting, which took place between Feb. 21-23.

“During the period when Uganda was under close monitoring by FATF, government initiated key reforms intended to improve the robustness of Uganda’s systems to deal with Money Laundering (ML) and Terrorism Financing (TF),” FIA said.

The reforms included, “enhancing of the ability of law enforcement agencies to conduct terrorism financing investigations and prosecutions, implementing proliferation financing-related targeted financial sanctions and strengthening the capacity of relevant ministries.”

The other reforms are “Adopting a national AML/CFT,CPF (Countering of Proliferation Financing) Strategy; Enhancing the use of Mutual \Legal Assistance and maintaining comprehensive statistics; Developing and implementing a risk-based supervision of the financial and Designated Non-Financial Business and Professionals(DNFBP) sectors and ensuring that Law Enforcement Agencies and Judicial authorities apply the ML offence consistent with the identified risks as well as establishing procedures to trace and seize proceeds of crime.”

Samuel Were Wandera, the FIA executive director, said:  “Uganda’s exit from the FATF Grey List is a testament to our unwavering commitment to fostering a transparent and secure financial environment.”

“It reflects the concerted efforts of our government and regulatory authorities to strengthen our AML/CFT framework and safeguard our financial system from illicit activities,” the official said.

Wandera noted that the Ugandan government has since February 2020 made a high-level political commitment to work with FATF and the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG).

“Government of Uganda has been actively working to strengthen the effectiveness of its Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime to implement the action plan agreed to, with the FATF which comprised of 22 Action items,” FIA said.

FIA is the lead government agency responsible for receiving, analysing, and disseminating actionable information on money laundering and terrorism financing activities.

FATF is an intergovernmental organization that sets global standards for combating illicit finance.

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