THE loss of resources in Africa through illicit financial outflows is hampering the continent’s development plans, President Jacob Zuma said during the general debate at the UN general assembly in New York.
He said the joint African Union and UN economic commission for Africa’s high-level panel on illicit financial flows estimated that the illicit flows could be about $50bn per annum.
“Illicit financial flows deprive developing countries of the much-needed economic resources to uplift their economies in order to provide infrastructure and basic services such as education and health care.
“We urge the world at large to treat this problem with the seriousness and urgency that it deserves,” Zuma said.
However, Zuma’s comments come as he delays signing the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) Amendment Bill.
The Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution has warned Zuma to sign the amendment bill, failing which he risks court action.
Casac has written to the president, urging him to assent to the bill or refer it back to the National Assembly within 30 days if he has reservations about its constitutionality.
Council executive secretary Lawson Naidoo wrote that the legislation would “strengthen SA’s capacity to fight corruption, specifically money laundering, trafficking and finance of terrorism”.
“It will bring us into line with international standards on combating financial crime and in particular our obligations as a member of the Financial Action Task Force.”
Parliament passed the bill in May, and it is awaiting Zuma’s signature.
The legislation requires banks to perform enhanced due diligence on “politically exposed” people in line with international obligations.
The Presidency said in August that the signing of the bill was delayed by a constitutional objection lodged by the Progressive Professionals Forum (PPF), a lobby group established by former government spokesman Mzwanele (Jimmy) Manyi.
Former finance minister Trevor Manuel has said that by not assenting to the bill Zuma was breaking his oath of office.
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