Rwanda: Government to Set Up Financial Intelligence Centre

Parliament has passed a law that will see the country get its first Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to monitor criminal financial activity such as money laundering, financing terrorism or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

The centre is part of the project designed to boost confidence in the country's financial system.

It is part of the laws that were tabled to parliament early last month Claudine Uwera, the Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning.

Addressing the lawmakers, Uwera said that the government had decided to establish the FIC as an independent body as opposed to being attached to the central bank.

"Article 4 of the law of 2018 provides that financial intelligence is done by a unit in charge of another institution in charge of fighting money laundering and financing terrorism. We felt that it would be contradictory since FIC is going to be autonomous," she said.

The President of the Parliamentary Commission on Budget Omar Munyaneza, whose commission reviewed this draft law told fellow lawmakers that FIC will serve as a national centre for the receipt and analysis of suspicious transaction reports and other information relevant to money laundering.

"This institution will gather and disseminate the results of that analysis plus develop policies and regulations related to anti-money laundering and counter financing terrorism," he said.

Law hands powers of FIC

Upon promulgation, the centre will have the power to monitor financial institutions' accounts transactions deemed as suspicious and to access electronic data and information banked in the servers for the purpose of financial intelligence.

The law also gives the centre the power to request for the monitoring or intercepting of communication, authentic and private documents on financial transactions and can provide or exchange information with a financial intelligence authority from another country, in case they have the same obligation of professional secrecy.

Anti-laundering law passed

The MPs also passed law on prevention, detection of money laundering, financing terrorism or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It comes to replace the law on prevention and punishment of money laundering and terrorist financing which was enacted on August 31, 2018.

The new law is expected to cover the gaps identified after comparing the law in force against international standards and in the process strengthen the financial sector and accelerate plans to make the country an international financial centre.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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