South Africa’s Zuma Signs Anti-Money Laundering Bill Into Law

  • Zuma had returned bill to parliament for changes in November
  • Law will help government fight financial crimes, tax evasion

South African President Jacob Zuma signed into law the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment Act, aimed at fighting tax evasion and money laundering.

Lawmakers in February approved changes to the legislation that clarified the behavior of officials carrying out inspections, and returned it to Zuma for his signature. The president had sent it back to parliament in November because he believed provisions for searches being conducted without a warrant were unconstitutional.

Jacob Zuma

Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

“The president is now satisfied that the Act addresses the constitutional concerns he had raised about warrantless searches,” Zuma’s office said in an emailed statement Saturday. The amended law “sends a strong message about South Africa’s commitment to combating financial crime, protecting the integrity of our financial system and our tax base, and remaining part of the global financial system.”

The changes will make it more difficult for people to hide behind shell companies and trusts, and also help the government fight terrorism financing, the presidential office said.

The Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based intergovernmental organization that sets global standards in fighting financial crimes, gave South Africa a June deadline to comply with its benchmarks, which included the amended act.

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