Members of Parliament in Malawi on Wedneday passed the Financial Crimes Bill with amendments, introducing a number of significant changes to the Money Laundering, Proceeds of Serious Crime and Terrorist Financing Act currently being used to prosecute Cashgate cases.
Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs said the legistlation also seeks to create an independent Financial Intelligence Authority to replace the Financial Intelligence Unit.
The Financial Crimes Bill also introduces enhanced penalties for offences such as: money laundering, terrorists financing and financing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and have a penalty of life imprisonment for a natural person and a fine of K500 million and the revocation of business licence for a legal person.
“The Bill also seeks an all crimes approach and removes the threshold for predicate offences in relation to offences provided for in the Bill,” Tembenu said.
He said the offences that have been criminalised in the bill are serious ones that have the potential of ruining a country and its economy and reputation hence the need to have penalties that will be both punitive and deterrent.
“The bill introduces enhanced penalties for these offences: money laundering, terrorists financing and financing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and have the penalty of life imprisonment for the natural person and a fine of K500 million and the revocation of business licence for legal person,” Tembenu said.
In the case of other financial crimes, the penalty will be ten years imprisonment and a fine of K20 million for the natural person and K500 million and loss of business licence for the legal person, Gondwe told the House, saying the e penalties are both punitive and deterrent.
He also said the bill introduces enhanced obligations for reporting entities when they undertake customer due diligence obligations.
Chairperson of the Legal Affairs Committee, Maxwell Thyolera, said the House agreed that the Head of State as well as Parliament will have a say on the appointment of FIA executive director.
Thyolera said the executive director of FIA shall be a person of integrity with recognised, relevant qualifications and experience in matters of finance, law and law enforcement.
He said funds confisicated should be kept and only gotten rif of after the case is completed in the courts.
Thyolela said FIA shall be athe principal national agency responsible for preventing and combating financial crimes.
The Bill will await President Peter Mutharika to assent to it to become law.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :