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The Executive Director of the Finance Intelligence Authority, Sydney Asubo stated that the FATF has warned to blacklist Uganda unless action is taken against money laundering by May 2022.
Appearing at the Committee on Finance, Asubo said that the Financial Action Task Force classifies countries in watchlists like the grey list and the black list depending on the weaknesses in overcoming money laundering.
“Uganda was placed on the grey list in 2020. It means the country has been identified but it made commitments with the FATF to address the specific issues within a given time frame,” he said.
Asubo also added that the FATF exchanged statements with the Minister of Finance, who made commitments to address the identified issues by January 2022. The deadline was later extended to May 2022 due to the effects of Covid-19.
“Unfortunately, a number of issues are still outstanding so the FATF is concerned and has written that if these issues are not addressed, then the country will be moved to the blacklist,” he said.
The Executive Director mentioned that the situation is inevitable as the addition to the grey list will mean that the whole world will become aware of Uganda’s challenges in addressing money laundering.
“Some people have already started feeling the impact especially international transactions which would take a day or two, are now taking a week or two. That process of scrutiny is beyond the normal scrutiny,” he said.
Based on the FATF evaluation, Uganda was considered largely compliant for five of the 40 Recommendations.
Asubo added that although the FIA has significantly contributed to fulfilling the requirements, the other ministries, departments, and agencies have fallen behind, including the ones under the Ministry of Finance, Internal Affairs, and Justice.
“I am happy to report that all the things that FIA was supposed to do have been done. The obligation to fulfill those requirements lies not only on the FIA,” he said.
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