By Steven Candia
The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), a new body to combat money laundering, has been formed.
The former director legal services in the Inspectorate of Government, Sydney Asubo was appointed the interim executive director pending ratification by the FIA board and approval by Parliament.
However, the FIA board is still being constituted.
“I hereby assign you additional responsibility as the interim executive director of FIA on secondment for a period of six months with effect from July 1, 2014,” the letter from finance minister Maria Kiwanuka, copied to the finance permanent secretary and secretary to the Treasury, read.
The Anti-money Laundering Act requires the minister to appoint an executive director on recommendation of the board.
Money laundering is the process by which criminals disguise the original ownership and control of proceeds of criminal activities by making such proceeds appear to have been derived from a legitimate source.
Asubo’s major task will be to set up the authority.
“This is an interim arrangement to help in establishing the FIA in accordance with the AML Act 2013,” the letter read.
Asubo, a lawyer by profession, has been instrumental in the development of the law. Parliament last year passed the law, which among other things, criminalises money laundering.
It provides that persons who convert, transfer or transport property suspected to be proceeds from crime, or assist another person to benefit from such transactions, are liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 years or a fine not exceeding sh2b or both.
Apart from criminalising money laundering, the law also provides for specific measures to detect and deter money laundering and to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of offenders.
The Act also makes it mandatory for accountable persons, banks inclusive, to declare any suspicious transactions.
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Body to combat money laundering body formed