Police net Rwf700m in money laundering

The Police Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) have intercepted about Rwf714 million at Kigali International Airport in less than a month, which was either being brought in or taken out of the country under suspicious circumstances, it has emerged.
Chief Supt Costa Habyara.
Chief Supt Costa Habyara.

The Police Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) have intercepted about Rwf714 million at Kigali International Airport in less than a month, which was either being brought in or taken out of the country under suspicious circumstances, it has emerged.

Chief Supt Costa Habyara, the director of FIU, confirmed the development, saying that the money was seized between December 23, 2011 and January 15, 2012, including $1.2 million and Rwf50 million.

The establishment of FIU, Habyara said, is paying off as efforts to fight the illegal flow of money intensify.

The FIU was established, last year, under the Presidential Decree of May 30, to prevent, combat and investigate financial crimes, including money laundering, funding terrorists, among others.

The move followed the enactment of the anti-money laundering law in 2008.

According to the law, any person who leaves or enters the country transporting cash or negotiable bills or exchange exceeding $10,000, without prior declaration, except for funds certified by a withdrawal slip issued by an accredited bank, will be committing a money laundering offence.

Habyara says the unit has registered impressive achievements in fighting money laundering since its establishment, adding that a directive on cross-border cash declaration has been drafted and only awaits to be gazetted.

Money laundering reporting officers, he added, have been stationed at every bank.

FIU has also put in place guidelines for suspicious transaction for reporting entities such as banks, insurance companies, as well as other entities that transact in significant amounts.

“FIU will ensure that transporting vast amounts of money across borders reduce, thus helping in curbing money laundering,” Habyara observed.

FIU is seeking to join regional and international anti-money laundering organizations, such as the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), Financial Action Task Force and Egmont Group, he added.

 “Most financial crimes are cross-border in nature. By joining regional and international financial investigating bodies, we put ourselves in a better position to track such cases, get information easily and share experience with our counterparts,” he said.

He called on Rwandans to avoid money laundering and use financial institutions to transfer large sums of money. 

Habyara also requested the public to always share information in case of suspicious cash flow.

bosco.asiimwe@newtimes.co.rw

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