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United Kingdom warns on money laundering

British High Commissioner to Malawi Holly Tett has said global commercial banks will shun Malawi if the next mutual evaluation on the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing will be negative.

Tett made the remarks in Lilongwe Wednesday during the opening of a workshop on National Risk Assessment (NRA) on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.

“Next year’s mutual evaluation has powerful implications. A negative review could affect how global commercial banks engage with banks in Malawi. This could impede financial access to global financial system, making it more expensive for people to send money into or out of the country,” Tett said.

Ahead of next year’s evaluation, it is a requirement that there should be an NRA and that there should be a strategic plan as well as an anti-money laundering policy.

Malawi last undertook an NRA on money laundering and terrorist financing in 2013.

“It could also cause many legitimate businesses and investors to avoid such countries because of corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing. This could have negative consequences on foreign direct investment and economic growth,” Tett said.

Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) Director General Atuweni Juwayeyi-Agbermodji said there is need to find progressive ways of dealing with money laundering and terrorist financing.

“Without a risk assessment, we will not know how to mitigate the risk factors. What will be happening is that the agencies that address money laundering and terrorist financing risk in the country will be shooting in the dark.

They will be shooting at anything that comes, without really knowing what the risks are, who is who is posing the risk and how we should go about mitigating those risks,” Juwayeyi- Agbermodji said.

United Kingdom’s Department for International Development is providing financial and technical support for updating NRA. The support is being given through the Basel Institute on Governance which is implementing various governance programmes in the country through International Centre for Asset Recovery Malawi Office.

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