CROSS border criminal activities such as money laundering and financing of terrorism have negative effects on social amenities as resources end up being channelled towards state security, Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa said yesterday.
Officially opening the 16th Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), here Acting President Mnangagwa said countries must collaborate to fight terrorism and money laundering.
“We now live in a world where terrorism has become a concern for us all. Resources have to be directed towards security and defence leaving inadequate funding for social services including health and education,” said the Acting president.
He said terrorism and money laundering ride on technological developments and the damage they cause is incalculable.
“No one, no society, no nation or continent is immune to this threat. Riding on technological developments, improved transportation, cheaper communication platforms and globalisation of financial markets, terrorism has taken a new dimension in recruiting, reaching out, strategising, attacking, electronically transferring money and sharing knowledge with ease,” the Acting President said.
The Acting President said the establishment of a Terrorist Financing Fact Finding Initiative whose responsibility is to assess compliance of member states was a noble idea.
“I should reiterate the need to continuously strengthen our Anti-Money Laundering laws as this is of paramount importance in light of the ravaging effect of illicit financial flows on the formal economy,” he said.
He said Zimbabwe had registered significant progress in ensuring a terror free country through the enactment of the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act in 2013.
ASAAMLG Financial Action Task Force executive secretary Mr Davis Lewis, said anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing initiatives were a priority for the region.
Ministers Patrick Chinamasa (Finance), Cain Mathema (Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs), Kembo Mohadi (State Security), Clifford Sibanda (Office of Vice President Mnangagwa), Mcebisi Jonasi (Finance, South Africa), Martin Dlamini (Finance, Swaziland) were some of the senior Government officials that attended the conference.
The weeklong conference ends today. Yesterday ministers were locked in Council of Ministers closed door meetings followed by the 3rd Public-Private sector dialogue meetings later in the day, to cap a week that started with the 32nd Taskforce of Senior Officials. herald