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New Financial Intelligence Bill targets political leaders

The proposed Financial Intelligence Amendment Bill that is expected to reach the parliament floor in the ongoing winter parliament session has been crafted to deliberately target political leadership in the country.

Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Nonofo Molefhi has recently confirmed this to WeekendPost following a Directorate on Economic Crime (DCEC) occurrence on Botswana’s second review cycle of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in Gaborone. Molefhi revealed the ‘bolt from the blue’ that the entire cabinet has approved the new amendments to include political influencers (such as themselves) so as to tighten screws on the Act.

“So what has been approved by cabinet on that Wednesday is the amendment to include the politically influential persons which include senior public officers. Our Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Mathambo presented the amendments at cabinet for approval,” he told this publication briefly. 

According to the Government Gazette Extraordinary dated 15 May 2018, “the object of the Bill is to amend the Financial Intelligence Act, Cap. 09:07 in order to harmonise Botswana’s financial intelligence legislation with international standards, in particular, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations on anti-money laundering, combating the financing of an act of terrorism and the financing of proliferation of arms of war or NBC weapon.”

In particular, “clause 13 of the Bill amends the Act by inserting new sections to provide for strengthening of customer due diligence measures with respect to beneficial owners and people in prominent influential positions and to provide for the prohibition of opening of anonymous accounts.”

The proposed law defines “prominent influential person” as those who are entrusted with public functions within Botswana or by a foreign country or an international organization, his or her close associates or immediate members of the family and these includes; the President, Vice President, Cabinet Ministers, Speaker of parliament, parliamentarians, Councilors, Senior government officials, Judicial officers and diKgosi.

The proposed amendments to the Financial Intelligence Act follow Botswana’s mutual evaluation carried out by the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG). The ESAAMLG assessors recommended that the amendment of the Act was necessary to address the issues of dual reporting of suspicious transactions.

It was further stressed that it was critical and urgent that Botswana aligns her financial intelligence legislation to international standards in order to attain technical compliance and to avoid being referred to the FATF’s International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) as a non cooperative State. 

Declaration of Assets also ready to take effect

Meanwhile Molefhi also confirmed that the Declaration of Assets law which President Mokgweetsi Masisi promised the nation at his inauguration has already been crafted and will take effect soon.  “The Declaration of Assets law is ready. It is coming. I have proof read it. It will then go to the President so he also looks at it and appreciates it. Then it will go to cabinet for approval and subsequent publication,” Molefhi told this publication recently.

According to the Minister in the Office of the President, the law also targets all political leaders like the Financial Intelligence amendment Bill, 2018. “All political influencers are also in. It’s all there. The law is ready. The president wants it done and it is part of his target for 100 days in office. It will be tabled in the July parliament sitting.”  Meanwhile in his inaugural speech on April 1st, Masisi declared that the law on declaration of assets will see the light of the day come rain or sunshine.   

He stated then that “My new cabinet and I, which I will soon put together will work very hard for and with you for a better Botswana. I will do my utmost to continually grow confidence in and of governance through a combination of new legislation, ethical codes and demonstrable and efficacious behaviours. To this end, expect specific legislation on declaration of assets and liabilities soon.”

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BAD WEEK FOR MANCHESTER CITY

6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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