Uganda removed from finance grey list

Uganda has been removed from the finance grey list. Photo | File

Summary:

  • This marks a significant milestone in the country’s dedication to enhancing financial transparency and combating money laundering and terrorist financing

After achieving all the reforms needed to eliminate Anti-Money Laundering/counterterrorism financing, Uganda has been removed from the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

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This marks a significant milestone in the country’s dedication to enhancing financial transparency and combating money laundering and terrorist financing.

The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) says Uganda’s successful exit from the FATF grey list not only reinforces the country’s reputation as a responsible member of the global financial community but also enhances its attractiveness to investors and facilitates greater access to international financial markets.

The FATF, an intergovernmental organization that sets global standards for combating illicit finance, placed Uganda on its Grey List in February 2020 due to concerns regarding deficiencies in Anti-Money Laundering and counterterrorism financing (AML/CFT) measures.

However, since then, Uganda has implemented a series of rigorous reforms and demonstrated substantial progress in aligning its financial regulations with international standards.

In a press statement issued on February 23, 2024, the Executive Director of FIA, Mr Samuel Were Wandera states that the decision to delist Uganda from the grey list was disclosed by the FATF President, Mr T Raja Kumar while announcing the outcomes of the fifth plenary meeting which took place in Paris, France on 21-23 February 2024.

“Uganda’s exit from the FATF grey list is a testament to our unwavering commitment to fostering a transparent and secure financial environment. It reflects the concerted efforts of our government and regulatory authorities to strengthen our AML/CFT framework and safeguard our financial system from illicit activities,” he said.

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He added: “The Government of Uganda has been actively working to strengthen the effectiveness of its Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime to implement the action plan agreed to, with the FATF which comprised 22 Action items.”

During the period when Uganda was under close monitoring by FATF, the government initiated key AML/CFT reforms intended to improve the robustness of Uganda’s systems to deal with Money Laundering (ML) and Terrorism Financing (TF).

The reforms that Uganda was required to institute include: Adopting a national AML/CFT, CPF(Countering of Proliferation Financing) Strategy; Enhancing the use of Mutual/Legal Assistance and maintaining comprehensive statistics; Developing and implementing a risk-based supervision of the financial and Designated Non-Financial Business and Professionals(DNFBP) sectors and ensuring that Law Enforcement Agencies and judicial authorities apply the ML offence in consistence with the identified risks as well as establishing procedures to trace and seize proceeds of crime.

Other reforms undertaken by Uganda are; enhancing the ability of the Law Enforcement Agencies to conduct terrorism financing investigations and prosecutions; implementing proliferation financing-related Targeted Financial sanctions; Strengthening the capacity of relevant AML/CFT Ministries, the Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to implement the said reforms effectively and sustainably in the future following the announcement.

Mr Wandera assured the general public in Uganda and the international community of Uganda’s commitment to consolidating the highlighted achievements attained during the period and to further strengthen the AML/CFT/CPF regime.

“FIA expresses gratitude to the FATF for its constructive engagement and guidance throughout this process. Uganda remains committed to sustaining momentum in its efforts to strengthen its AML/CFT framework further and contribute to global efforts to combat financial crime,” he said.

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