By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/Umoja Standard.
Kampala, Uganda: Uganda’s Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) on Monday launched a goAML system where accountable persons will be able to register with the Authority online.
The initiative will help break barriers that were associated with physical registration as approval of documents will take a space of one to two days and there will be no costs associated with the new system.
The platform will assist the authority to have automation of other processes, including the issuance of Electronic Certificates of Registration.
Dr. Sydney Asubo the Executive Director of Financial Intelligence Authority-Uganda appends his signature to the goAML Initiative. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
The goAML System was acquired from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) as away of easing operations of the FIA as well as conforming to the fourth industrial revolution- the paperless economy.
Important to note.
Since 2015, Financial Intelligence Authority has been registering all accountable persons manually by requiring them to fill Form 1 after which they are entered into a register and issued a hard copy Certificate as proof of registration.
Section 21(pb) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2013 provides for the registration of all Accountable Persons as one of the general powers of the Financial Intelligence Authority. These include financial institutions, casinos, dealers in crypto, Insurance companies, real estate dealers and others.
While Addressing Press at their offices, Dr. Sydney Asubo the Executive Director of Financial Intelligence Authority stated that, this new initiative will help to increase compliance levels of accountable persons as they have been facing this challenge especially from those with no credential regulators like real estates, forex bureaus, virtual assets service providers (crypto-currencies) and others.
Dr. Sydney Asubo the Executive Director of Financial Intelligence Authority-Uganda demonstrates how the Certificate of Registration through goAML will look like . Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
Dr. Asubo informed that they also have been battling with a challenge of registering some of the latter but in the recent National Risk Assessment campaign, they were able to register at least 300 forex bureau companies.
He revealed that if accountable persons failed to comply, they abrogate Section 133 of Anti-Money Laundering Act 2013 which provides that,
General non-compliance with requirements of act and conducting transactions to avoid reporting duties:
Sec 133 (1), A person who conducts, or causes to be conducted, one or more transactions with the purpose, in whole or in part, of avoiding giving rise to a reporting duty under this Act, commits an offence.
Sec 133 (2) An accountable person who fails to take any reasonable step to secure compliance with the requirements of this Act or fails to do anything required by this Act commits an offence.
And Sec 136 of the Act provides for Penalties according to the magnitude of the offense committed as in Sec 133 of the Act.
Collin Mugasha Babirukamu, Director E-Government Services at National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) mentioned that several institutions are quickly adopting E-systems citing an example of banks which he said they have always reached out to them for E-services and have migrated to digitize and digitalize their operations.
Collin Mugasha Babirukamu, Director E-Government Services at National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) speaks to media. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
“Emergency of technology in financial institutions has eased their operations as it has broken and substituted the bureaucratic physical paper system”. Said Mugasha.
He said however, there is need to regulate all accountable institutions/persons under Financial Intelligence Authority as there is emergence of cyber-crime surge.
Sharon Lesa Nyambe, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Head of Office, Kampala Uganda stressed that they are committed to assist Financial Intelligence Authority-Uganda (FIA), relevant law enforcement, supervisory and regulatory bodies in the implementation of Anti-Money Laundering Initiative and Terrorism Financing.
Sharon Lesa Nyambe, the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Head of Office, Kampala Uganda speaks to journalists. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
“This we are doing through two initiatives, one being putting focus on illicit financial flows linked to illegal mining, trafficking and dealing in precious minerals and the other being focused on crime prevention and criminal justice in Uganda- a soon to be launched a 5-year project”. Said Nyambe.
She stated that goAML is UNODC’s next generation solution developed specifically for the use of financial intelligence units as one of its strategic responses to Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.
The United Nations General Assembly 75/196 of 2020 repeated UNODC’s madate to provide technical assistance to member states upon their request to combat Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism through the global programme against Money Laundering, proceeds of crime and financing of terrorism in accordance with United Nations related instruments and international standards.