Zim off international financial blacklist

HARARE - Zimbabwe has been removed from the international financial blacklist after the country took steps towards improving its role in the global fight against money laundering and terrorist financing, a Cabinet minister said.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa welcomed the move by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to remove the country from a monitored list.

“The FATF has acknowledged the progress we made in strengthening our anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism regime (AML/CFT). As a result, Zimbabwe has been removed from the FATF monitored list,” he said in a letter of Intent to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

According to the FATF website, the country was removed from the list in February. The action was taken following Zimbabwe’s full implementation of the mutually agreed Action Plan and the exhibition of a clear political commitment to continue the development of its AML/CFT regime. Other countries still on the list include Afghanistan, Angola, Iraq, Cambodia and Sudan.

This comes as Zimbabwe in 2011 made a high-level political commitment to work with the FATF and ESAAMLG to address its strategic AML/CFT deficiencies.

“Zimbabwe has taken steps towards improving its AML/CFT regime, including by enacting the Trafficking in Persons Act 2014 and issuing a Statutory Instrument to improve the framework to identify and freeze terrorist assets,” said FATF on its website.

The FATF then assessed the new legislation leading to the addressing of issues around adequately criminalising money laundering and terrorist financing; and adequate procedures to identify and freeze terrorist assets in Zimbabwe. Although non-appearance on the blacklist was perceived to be a mark of approval for offshore financial centres who are sufficiently well-regulated to meet all of the FATF’s criteria, in practice the list included countries that did not operate as offshore financial centres.

The FATF — an inter-governmental body established in 1989 by the ministers of its member jurisdictions updates the blacklist regularly — designating countries to be added or deleted. Its objectives are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

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