President Jacob Zuma has signed the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (Fica) Bill, However, it must still be implemented. The bill is intended to strengthen measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism‚ and in particular, will require enhanced vigilance over the financial transactions of prominent influential persons.

What does the Bill include?

The various methods to strengthen anti-money laundering and the combating of terrorist financing regulatory framework in the Amendment Act include:

  1. requiring the identification of beneficial owners to prevent natural persons from misusing legal entities for nefarious purposes, like evading tax;
  2. enhancing the customer due diligence requirements that will ensure that entities fully understand the nature and potential risk posed by their customers;
  3. providing for the adoption of a risk based approach in the identification and assessment of money laundering and terrorist financing risks, and assist in making customer compliance easier;
  4. providing for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions relating to the freezing of assets relating to persons associated with terrorism;
  5. safeguarding information in line with the Protection of Personal Information;
  6. providing for inspection powers for regulatory compliance purposes in accordance with the Constitution; and
  7. enhancing certain administrative and enforcement mechanisms.

The Fica Amendment Bill will provide for ongoing monitoring of the business relationships, sources of wealth, and sources of funds of “domestic prominent influential persons” and family members and close associates of such persons in South Africa. The amendments will apparently also make it harder for people involved in illegitimate activities or tax evasion to hide behind legal entities such as shell companies and trusts.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Please feel free to contact Brian Kahn for further information or specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

The Fica Bill: What does it mean for you?
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