Government is set to launch a campaign aimed at curbing money laundering a week after the nomination of the Financial Intelligence Unit Advisory Board.
The Financial Intelligence Unit was established June this year with the core role of sharing information on suspicious transactions across borders.
Rwanda passed the anti money laundering and combating financing of terrorism law in 2008, a move that positioned the country to be competitive in the East African Community (EAC) by raising investor confidence.
Money laundering is essentially the act of exchanging money attained illegitimately by sending it through a legitimate organisation, like banks, after which this flows back as clean money.
The Department of Financial Intelligence Unit at the National Police of Rwanda says they will meet stakeholders and reporting entities in preparation to engage cases. “Anti money laundering campaign is being planned to sensitise the public (business community) about the issue and prevention measures,” said Theos Badege, the Police Spokesman.
Experts say Rwanda faces serious challenges from the changing society, rapid economic development in the current advancement of science and technology, frequent international capital movement and continuous financial business innovation.
“We will have (a) money laundering reporting officer in each institution and will use the format called suspicious activity report,” Badege said.
He said the Unit is in the process of collecting data from various sources such as banks, border posts and other financial agencies for proper analysis and design appropriate measures to combat money laundering and financing terrorism.
Central bank Governor, Amb.Claver Gatete, said cases of money laundering in the country are very rare. “We have the law, meaning money laundering is sealed. Rwanda has been recognised by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank as one of the countries with the most stable financial system but we keep monitoring the situation,” Amb. Gatete Said.
Lawson Naibo, the Chief Operations Officer of Bank of Kigali said his institution has not encountered cases of money laundering and attributed it to the central bank’s intensive policy.
“Any transaction worth US$1 million is reported to Central Bank as suspicious transaction while an amount of US$20,000 must have supporting documents from the client,” he emphasised.
The reasons attributed to rare cases of money laundering include tight governance by the central bank, very small market and lesser population.
It is believed that if not addressed, money laundering can hinder fair competition and damage reputations and normal operations of financial institutions.