23 July 2014

Tanzania: Experts Fault Govt On 'Dirty' Money Laws

LOCAL banking experts have warned the government over the country's weak money laundering laws, something that expose the economy to syndicates of international criminals.

Speaking to 'Daily News', the experts who preferred anonymity said some commercial banks operating in the country have been blacklisted in Britain, France and the United States for allowing dubious transactions of criminal related money.

"There is a foreign bank which was fined by the UK's Financial Services Authority in 2012 for failing to maintain strong anti-money laundering systems," said the source who works with a leading commercial bank in Dar es Salaam.

While, naming the bank (name withheld), he said local regulators including Bank of Tanzania and Financial Intelligence Unit at Treasury have taken no action against the bank.

"Now we are being forced to act after other countries' regulators have published our lot," he pointed out. 'Daily News' investigations established that a fine of £525,000 was imposed on the bank's subsidiary in Zurich, Switzerland because millions of dollars in suspicious money was transacted.

"The FSA found that the failings at the bank continued for almost three years between 15 December 2007 and 15 November 2010 and exposed it to an unacceptable risk of handling the proceeds of crime," the FSA said in a statement.

Meanwhile, BoT on Tuesday maintained that all is well at FBME Bank in Tanzania assuring clients that business is going on smoothly.

"Bank of Tanzania will issue a statement soon, but otherwise the situation is calm at the FBME headquarters in Dar es Salaam and its branches in Arusha, Zanzibar and Mwanza.

"FBME operations continue as normal and customers need not to worry," BoT Communications Manager Zalia Mbeo said in a statement.

Ms Mbeo who did not say exactly what the central bank is doing to address concerns of money laundering at FBME Bank with an outstanding case of Italian politician who transacted through the country 10 million euros (over 22.47bn/-) last year.

Life was going on normally at all FBME branches and the headquarters yesterday when this paper visited and interviewed clients in banking halls who appeared to be calm. View the discussion thread.

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