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MBABANE – The Central Bank of Eswatini has committed to step up enforcement in illegal deposit-taking schemes.

It was noted that the reason for enforcement was that most of the agents of the schemes encouraged people to deposit money into their personal or company accounts without required approvals from the central bank. These were some of the highlights from the Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) Indaba. The two-day event held on Wednesday and Thursday was hosted by the Ministry of Finance and the AML Task Force at the Royal Swazi Spa Hotel. The Financial Service Regulatory Authority (FSRA) legislation stipulates that if a person is selling any form of financial services product without a licence, be it individuals or companies, they have committed an offence. A policy paper is currently being drafted to enable the country to take a position on virtual assets.

The CBE Governor, Dr Phil Mnisi, urged all stakeholders and the public at large to continue working together in combating money laundering and financial terrorism. “It is important to have all these stakeholders in the fight against these financial crimes because the crimes transcend different sectors of the economy,” he said. The Indaba was hailed as a significant milestone in the country’s fight against money laundering. One of the highlights of the conference was the commendation of the efforts undertaken by the national AML Taskforce. The governor, who also doubles as the chairperson of the council, applauded the task force for their dedication and commitment to combating money laundering and financial crimes. He acknowledged the milestones achieved so far and urged all stakeholders to continue working together in this important endeavour.  

The AML Taskforce has been instrumental in spearheading various initiatives aimed at strengthening anti-money laundering measures in Eswatini. Some of the key achievements include; developing an action plan to remediate the findings of the Mutual Evaluation Report, establishing the National Risk Assessment which commenced in October 2022, capacity building (the team hosted experts from ESAAMLG in May 2022, for training), commissioning a Supervisors Forum where the supervisory authorities discuss policies, risks and trends and conducting research to understand virtual assets and associated risks to inform policy formulation.