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Government told to hurry the passing of anti-money laundering bill

By Julius Businge

Government has been urged to immediately pass the anti-money laundering bill so that all matters related to the vice are well handled.

Money laundering which is a process of concealing the source of large amounts of money that have been gained through illegitimate means is said to be a danger to economies that do not have punitive laws to check the vice.

Uganda is the only country in the East African community that has not passed the anti-money laundering law (AML).

The Ugandan Parliament passed the bill into law on July 10, this year and it awaits Presidential assent. The bill has been on the shelves of Parliament since 2005.

If implemented, persons involved in the activity or transactions will be liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 15 years or a fine not exceeding sh2billion or both punishments.

Speaking during a workshop organized by Standard Chartered Bank on money laundering in Kampala on Aug. 15, Justine Bagyenda, the executive director for supervision at Bank of Uganda said money laundering means making dirty money clean and “we do not need it in our economy because it is dangerous”.

She said that money laundering, if not prevented can undermine the integrity of financial institutions and also public confidence in these institutions. It can also undermine financial stability and cause highly destabilising financial flows across borders.

Herman Kasekende, the managing director at Standard Chartered Bank Uganda Limited says the passing and implementation of the law is what they are waiting for.

“As a bank we are ready to support the law,” Kasekende said.

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