Action plan to deal with “grey listing”

Government’s International Cooperation, Trade and Security (ICTS) cluster has noted the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) decision to list South Africa as a “jurisdiction under increased monitoring”, or more commonly referred to as FATF’s “grey list”.

In a statement on Monday, the cluster said Cabinet has considered the action plan and is committed to actively work with the FATF to swiftly and effectively address all outstanding deficiencies.

South Africa was put on a “grey list” recently for falling short of certain international standards for the combating of money laundering and other serious financial crimes.

FATF assessed that the country needed to make further and sustained progress in addressing the eight areas of strategic deficiencies related to the effective implementation of South Africa’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) laws as set out in the FATF’s statement.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said most of these deficiencies relate to the implementation of laws. For example, the country needs to be able to demonstrate, among other things, an increase in the investigation and prosecution of serious and complex money-laundering and terrorism financing.

This includes an increase in mutual legal assistance requests to other countries, an increase in the use of financial intelligence by law enforcement agencies, and the effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions.

“Our action plan to address these deficiencies is aligned with the work we are doing to implement the recommendations of the State Capture Commission as outlined in our submission to Parliament in October last year,” the President said.

President Ramaphosa said that like all countries, South Africa is dealing with the shifting sands of globalised crime and criminal syndicates. He added that the challenge facing authorities is to anticipate criminal innovation and to respond swiftly and effectively.

Since the dawn of democracy in 1994, the country has sought to build credible, independent institutions and implement effective laws to deal with complex financial crimes of this nature.

South Africa forged collaborative relationships with transnational entities and global bodies in the financial sector, including the FATF and Interpol.

The country has come a long way when it comes to developing world-class expertise, legislative reform and strengthening state institutions to combat complex financial crime.

“We have restored credibility to key institutions like SARS and the NPA to enable them to fulfil their respective mandates. We have bolstered the powers of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) by establishing a Special Tribunal to recover public funds stolen through corruption and fraud, and an Investigative Directorate in the NPA to investigate serious corruption,” he said.

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced in the 2023 National Budget that additional funds will be allocated to the police, NPA, SIU and Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to strengthen the fight against crime and corruption.

The President said one of the country’s most effective tools for combating money laundering and other financial crimes is the multidisciplinary Fusion Centre, established in 2020.

The ICTS Cluster is responsible for Priority 7 of the Medium-term Strategic Framework 2019-2024, A Better Africa and World.

Source: South African Government News Agency