Money laundering and the financing of terrorism are financial crimes with economic effects. The Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants has made the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism a priority. Among the goals of this effort are:
- protecting the integrity and stability of the accountancy profession, cutting off the resources available to terrorists
- and making it more difficult for those engaged in crime to profit from their criminal activities.
BICA as a regulatory body aims to provide robust anti-money laundering supervision through a risk-based regime
What is Money Laundering?
Criminal activities, such as drug trafficking, smuggling, human trafficking, corruption and others, tend to generate large amounts of profits for the individuals or groups carrying out the criminal act. However, by using funds from such illicit sources, criminals risk drawing the authorities’ attention to the underlying criminal activity and exposing themselves to criminal prosecution. In order to benefit freely from the proceeds of their crime, they must therefore conceal the illicit origin of these funds.
Money laundering requires an underlying, primary, profit-making crime (such as corruption, drug trafficking, market manipulation, fraud, tax evasion), along with the intent to conceal the proceeds of the crime or to further the criminal enterprise. These activities generate financial flows that involve the diversion of resources away from economically- and socially-productive uses—and these diversions can have negative impacts on the financial sector and external stability of member states. They also have a corrosive, corrupting effect on society and the economic system as a whole.
What is Financing of Terrorism?
Terrorist financing involves the solicitation, collection or provision of funds with the intention that they may be used to support terrorist acts or organizations. Funds may stem from both legal and illicit sources. More precisely, according to the Counter Terrorism Act,2014, a person commits the crime of financing of terrorism “if that person by any means, directly or indirectly, unlawfully and willfully, provides or collects funds with the intention that they should be used or in the knowledge that they are to be used, in full or in part, in order to carry out” an offense as per the Act.
The primary goal of individuals or entities involved in the financing of terrorism is therefore not necessarily to conceal the sources of the money but to conceal both the financing and the nature of the financed activity.
AML/CFT controls, when effectively implemented, mitigate the adverse effects of criminal economic activity and promote integrity and stability in financial markets.
Efforts to Combat Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism
Money laundering is the process of concealing the illicit origin of proceeds of crimes. Terrorist financing is the collection or the provision of funds for terrorist purposes. In the case of money laundering, the funds are always of illicit origin, whereas in the case of terrorist financing, funds can stem from both legal and illicit sources. The primary goal of individuals or entities involved in the financing of terrorism is therefore not necessarily to conceal the sources of the money but to conceal both the funding activity and the nature of the funded activity.
Similar methods are used for both money laundering and the financing of terrorism. In both cases, the actor makes an illegitimate use of the financial sector. The techniques used to launder money and to finance terrorist activities/terrorism are very similar and in many instances identical. An effective anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism framework must therefore address both risk issues: it must prevent, detect and punish illegal funds entering the financial system and the funding of terrorist individuals, organizations and/or activities. Also, AML and CFT strategies converge; they aim at attacking the criminal or terrorist organization through its financial activities, and use the financial trail to identify the various components of the criminal or terrorist network. This implies to put in place mechanisms to detect suspicious transactions or activities and report them to the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA).