Saturday, July 20, 2024

FIRST WITH SECURITY NEWS

SA progressing on exiting FATF greylist

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South Africa is, according to Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, progressing in its efforts to combat terrorism financing and put a lid on money laundering.

These saw the country greylisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last year and presented with a list of action items to be complied with before it is pronounced “clean”.

A National Treasury (NT) statement issued this week post an update from last month’s FATF plenary in Singapore, has it South Africa by way of Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s NT, “does not expect South Africa to exit greylisting before June 2025, as per the action plan deadlines”.

The FATF plenary, the statement has it, did not discuss delisting South Africa from greylisting, focusing instead on progress made in addressing 17 outstanding action items.

“The FATF Plenary accepted the report of the FATF Africa/Middle East Joint Group that South Africa has largely addressed three further action items and hence has 14 outstanding items left to address, from the original 22.

“When the FATF greylisted South Africa at its February 2023 plenary meetings, it adopted a jointly agreed action plan containing 22 action items linked to eight strategic deficiencies identified in the country’s anti-money laundering and combating of financing terrorism (AML/CFT) regime. South Africa is required to address all 22 action items to exit the FATF greylist. The action items have differing deadlines, between January 2024 and January 2025.

“The January 2025 deadline serves as a general guide on the earliest time that South Africa can be expected to have addressed all action items in the action plan,” two years after placement of a country on the FATF greylist. When all action items have been addressed, the country is required to confirm its progress by way of an onsite visit by the FATF joint group.

This, NT has it, could see the FATF joint group in South Africa in April/May next year. If the assessment that all action items have been properly dealt with is confirmed a recommendation to remove the country from the greylist will go to the February 2025 FTF plenary. If any action items remain unaddressed by the January 2025 deadline, South Africa has to continue reporting to the FATF every four months until all deficiencies are addressed.

At the June meetings, the FATF plenary adopted a report by the FATF joint group for Africa/Middle East, confirming eight of 22 action items are addressed or largely addressed in accordance with specified deadlines. The items addressed relate to legal provisions criminalising terrorist financing and underpinning South Africa’s targeted financial sanction regimes.

South Africa is left with two reporting cycles in September and January next year in terms of the action plan. “Many” of 14 outstanding items are due in the last two reporting cycles “because South Africa has to demonstrate improvements made are sustained over successive reporting periods” the statement reads further.

“NT notes that whilst South Africa is on track to address all the outstanding action items, it remains a tough challenge to address all 14 the remaining action items by February 2025.

“All relevant agencies and authorities will need to continue to demonstrate significant improvements and also those improvements are sustained and are effective. The Minister of Finance has been leading a process within government to ensure that South Africa addresses all Action Items by February 2025, to enable South Africa to exit greylisting by June 2025,” according to the statement.

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