After critical analysis, the president has signed the FICA bill, saying he is now certain that the Act addresses the constitutional concerns he had raised about warrantless searches.
In a statement made by the Presidency on Saturday morning, it was gathered that President Jacob Zuma has signed the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) bill into law.
“The Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Act, assented by the President, amends the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2001. The 2001 Act and other related Acts aim to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism,” said Presidency spokesman Bongani Ngqulunga.
Ngqulunga said these amendments to the Financial Intelligence Amendment Act further strengthen the transparency and integrity of the South African financial system, especially in its objectives to combat financial crimes. Some of these financial cankerworms rearing their ugly heads in the society include – tax evasion, money laundering and the financing of terrorism and illicit financial flows.
In addition, the amendments would also frustrate the efforts of those involved in illegal acts or tax evasion to hide behind legal entities like shell companies and trusts. In other words, there would be no hiding place for defaulters.
Signing the FICA bill into law is the president’s way of sending a clear warning. The move clearly states that South Africa is committed to fighting financial crime, protecting the integrity of the nation’s financial system and tax base.
Also, the Amendment Act further demonstrate South Africa’s membership commitments to the Financial Action Task Force and United Nations.
Here are the measures to strengthen anti-money laundering and the combating of terrorist financing regulatory framework in the Amendment Act, as stipulated by the Presidency;
- 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 adoption of a risk based approach in the identification and assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing risks, and assist in making customer compliance easier
- providing for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions relating to the freezing of assets relating to persons associated with terrorism
- safeguarding information in line with the Protection of Personal Information
- providing for inspection powers for regulatory compliance purposes in accordance with the Constitution
- enhancing certain administrative and enforcement mechanisms.