Law sets tougher punishments for terrorism, money laundering

Prof. Omar Munyaneza (left), Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony speaks during a session. Sam Ngendahimana..

The new law on prevention and punishment of money laundering, financing terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction has set higher penalties against such acts in.

It was approved by parliament on Monday, December 30, 2019.

Speaking on Monday from Parliamentary Buildings, Prof. Omar Munyaneza, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on National Budget and Patrimony, said the higher penalties were intended to match with the gravity of the crime.

“Punishments used to be very lenient,” MP Munyaneza said.

For instance, the new law raised jail terms against financing terrorism from between 7 and 10 years sentence to between 20 and 25 years.

It also imposes a fine of between three to five times of the amount of financing that was provided to back that act.

The law also introduced a new punishment of between 15 and 20 years for people who support proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and a fine equivalent to five to 10 times the funding that was provided to that act.

MP Veneranda Nyirahirwa said money laundering should be an imprescriptible offence, which means that it should not be taken away by statutory limitation period, rather the culprit will have to face sanctions anytime in their lifetime provided he or she is convicted.

However, Munyaneza said that Rwanda adheres to international standards about the legislation dealing with such a crime, pointing out that the crime is not considered imprescriptible in the international contest.

Meanwhile, the law also provides for circumstances that can mitigate punishments set in the law, but it did not determine the range within which the punishment can be lessened.

MP Christine Muhongayire said the mitigating circumstances should be within definite punishment limits to which the judge should not go beyond.

“This arrangement can prevent the judge from making decisions that go beyond reasonable limits,” she said

entirenganya@newtimesrwanda.com

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