The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) has cautioned banks about the high risk of being targeted by money launderers. The FIA made this warning during the launch of a three-tier course on money laundering and anti-terrorism financing for bankers, organized by the Uganda Institute Of Banking and Financial Services (UIBFS).
Fiona Nabaggala, the acting Director in charge of compliance at FIA, explained that money launderers often use banks as entry points to introduce illegally obtained funds into the financial system. She stated that research indicates the banking sector faces a high risk in this regard.
Nabaggala also mentioned that advancements in technology and globalization have made it easier for money launderers to conduct their activities, including the use of cryptocurrencies.
She urged banks to recognize the evolving techniques used by money launderers and become more vigilant and adaptable to counter these threats effectively.
Uganda found itself on the grey list in 2020, a list that identifies countries with significant shortcomings in addressing money laundering. Being on this list has severe consequences, according to Kajura Simon Ogwal, the head of asset recovery at the Inspectorate of Government. He noted that it affects international trade and foreign investments, leading to increased scrutiny and costs for financial transactions.
Goretti Masadde, the CEO of the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services, emphasized that their three-tier anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing course aims to train bankers in detecting and dealing with money laundering activities. The course intends to equip individuals at all levels of the banking sector with the necessary knowledge and techniques to identify and combat money laundering.
Michael Mugabi, the chairman of the board of the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services, expressed that these efforts are part of a broader initiative to remove Uganda from the grey list by strengthening the financial sector’s ability to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.