Few days after the President, Jacob Zuma signed the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Act, popularly known as FICA bill, PPF boss Jimmy Manyi comes to say that the controversial bill was created to sabotage the ruling ANC.
Zuma signed the FICA bill into law on Saturday, according to reports from the presidency. By this, the new bill now amends the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2001 and other related Acts.
Signing this to law, completely amends the 2001 FICA act which aims at combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Presidency’s Dr Bongani Ngqulunga also said the amended bill further strengthen the transparency and integrity of the South African financial system in its objectives to combat financial crimes, which include tax evasion, money laundering and the financing of terrorism and illicit financial flows.
It would also make it harder for people who are involved in illegitimate activities or tax evasion to hide behind legal entities like shell companies and trusts.
But, in an interview with the SABC2 flagship morning news programme, Morning Live, the Progressive Professional Forum (PPF) boss, Jimmy Manyi said amending the FICA bill negates the ANC future.
The Fica amendment bill was a clear-cut move aimed at financially suffocating the ANC ahead of the 2019 polls as the bill gives the judiciary powers to freeze banks for 10 days in contravention of section 205 (3) of the constitution.
He said amending the act was all part of former finance minister Pravin Gordhan’s grand scheme as the legislation took away the executive powers from the president and transferred it to the office of minister of finance.
Gordhan would have had the discretion to gazette it even after being promulgated into law by the president like he did, Manyi said, adding that the bill had “a political agenda”
He further stated that the bill has a primary goal of ensuring that financially strong members of the ruling party are stifled by freezing bank accounts as it widely known that campaigning for the forthcoming election requires millions of rands.
“If Thuli Mandonsela were to investigate this thing, she will say it’s a private army”, he said.
“Ten days is a long time for an account to be frozen, and a lot can happen in that time,” Manyi added.
Meanwhile, Presidency’s Dr Bongani Ngqulunga said measures to further strengthen anti-money laundering and the combating of terrorist financing regulatory framework in the Amendment Act included:
- Requiring the identification of beneficial owners to prevent natural persons from misusing legal entities for nefarious purposes like evading tax;
- Enhancing the customer due diligence requirements that will ensure that entities fully understand the nature and potential risk posed by their customers;
- Providing for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions relating to the freezing of assets relating to persons associated with terrorism;
- Providing for the adoption of a risk-based approach to the identification and assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing risks, and assist in making customer compliance easier
- Safeguarding information in line with the Protection of Personal Information;
- Providing for inspection powers for regulatory compliance purposes in accordance with the Constitution; and
- Enhancing certain administrative and enforcement mechanisms.
The Amendment Act sends a strong message about South Africa’s commitment to combating financial crime, protecting the integrity of our financial system and our tax base, and remaining part of the global financial system, Ngqulunga said.