Categorized | Government

Black Business Council welcomes FICA bill

Sello RasethabaThe Black Business Council (BBC) has welcomed the signing of the financial intelligence centre amendment (FICA) bill into law and has urged the Treasury and law enforcement agencies to apply this law without fear or favour. 

South Africans must be assured that this law is not used to further political goals of certain individuals, that the law is not used to exclude other from the financial system. The FICA law must not be used to discriminate instead of ensuring that The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations are implemented in a transparent and democratic manner. 

According to the Washington-based Global Financial Integrity, more money flows illegally out of developing and emerging countries each year—facilitated by secrecy in the global financial system—than they receive in foreign direct investment and foreign aid combined. Beyond bleeding the world’s poorest economies, this propels crime, corruption, and tax evasion globally.

“The signing of the FICA Bill by President Zuma will go a long way to eradicating export under-invoicing and import mis-invoicing, corrupt government officials, other criminals and commercial tax evaders who are able to move assets easily out of countries and into tax havens, anonymous companies and secret bank accounts as reported by the Cape Times earlier this month.” Said Sello Rasethaba, Chairman of the BBC    

On the 24th of September 2016, the BBC wrote to President Zuma formally objecting to the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) bill and requesting that he should not sign the Bill into Law as per the powers conferred upon him by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.   

The letter indicated that the BBC is not oblivious or rather dismissive of attempts by the Government of the Republic of South Africa to implement international standards as set out by FATF to fight against terrorist financing and money laundering. However, the BBC argues that the Bill:

  1. Money laundering and terrorism financing must be countered in ways that are fully consistent with the Republic’s core constitutional values (that include liberty, non-discrimination, and the rule of law), that are evidence-based, and that are likely to be effective.
  2. Is ineffective in countering money laundering and financing of terrorism activities by virtue of what is omitted from the Bill, and will actually be counter-productive in that it could easily get in the way of effective policing, intelligence-gathering and prosecutorial activity.

 

Amendments that addressed these concerns were made to the Bill after the President referred the Bill back to Parliament. 

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