President Jacob Zuma sends money-laundering bill back to parliament

President Jacob Zuma sent an anti-money-laundering bill that would have increased scrutiny of the bank accounts of “prominent individuals”, including himself, back to parliament on Tuesday, saying it might not be constitutional.

In a statement, Zuma’s office said the Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) bill was “very important and pressing” but it was concerned about some of its aspects, particularly those relating to “warrant-less searches”.

The bill, which is meant to bolster the fight against global financial crime by making it easier to identify ultimate owners of companies and accounts – including those of “domestic prominent influential persons” – was passed by parliament in May.

READ MORE: Revisionist accounting to the rescue for Gupta-owned Oakbay

That left Zuma’s signature as the final hurdle to it being signed into law. In its definition of “influential person”, the FICA bill specified the president and deputy president, ministers, provincial premiers, judges and generals.

At a meeting with Zuma in September, the Black Business Council (BBC), a lobby group trying to boost black ownership of the economy, urged him not to sign the bill.

Its reasons were not made clear at the time although South African media speculated that its stance might be related to a fight between the Treasury, which sponsored the legislation, and the Guptas, a family of controversial businessmen close to Zuma.

South Africa’s leading four banks have severed their ties with the Guptas over the last year. They have refused to make public their reasons but analysts say their action was probably prompted by concerns about reputational risk.

READ MORE: Oakbay asks court to compel FIC to provide details on 72 ‘suspicious’ transactions

A spokesman for the BBC did not respond to email or telephone requests for comment. Zuma’s spokesman denied any motive on Zuma’s part other than his desire to ensure all laws he signed were constitutional.

The Guptas have also denied any wrongdoing or backroom lobbying.

Cas Coovadia, managing director of the Banking Association of South Africa, said the bill was important for the global standing and integrity of South Africa’s banking system, and urged parliament to pass it again as quickly as possible.

“We will deal with it in parliament again if need be,” he said. “We would like to expedite this.”

The bill will now pass back to the parliamentary committee that drafted it, although it is not yet clear whether they will make changes. 

Ed Cropley 2
Guest Author
Advertisting

De Klerk now admits apartheid was a crime against humanity

Apartheid’s last president walks back comments that definition was a Soviet plot

February 11 1990: Mandela’s media conquest

Nelson Mandela’s release from prison was also South Africa’s first ‘media event’. And, despite the NP’s, and the SABC’s, attempt to control the narrative, the force of Madiba’s personality meant that he emerged as a celebrity

Eastern Cape MEC orders graft investigation after two workers killed...

The killing of two council workers at the Amathole district municipality appears to be linked to tender fraud and corruption

Strike-off case pulls in judge

Judge Mushtak Parker is implicated in an application to strike off his former partners. He is also involved in the fight between the Western Cape high court’s judge president and his deputy
Advertising

Press Releases

Response to the report of the independent assessors

VUT welcomes the publishing of the report of the independent assessors to investigate concerns of poor governance, leadership, management, corruption and fraud at the university.

NWU student receives international award

Carol-Mari Schulz received the Bachelor of Health Sciences in Occupational Hygiene Top Achiever Award.

Academic programme resumes at all campuses

Lectures, practicals, seminars and tutorials will all resume today as per specific academic timetables.

Strategic social investments are a catalyst for social progress

Barloworld Mbewu enables beneficiaries to move away from dependence on grant funding

We all have a part to play to make South Africa work

Powering societal progress demands partnerships between all stakeholders

So you want to be a social entrepreneur?

Do the research first; it will save money and time later

Social entrepreneurship means business

Enterprises with a cause at their core might be exactly what our economy desperately needs

Looking inwards

Businesses are finding tangible ways to give back – but only because consumers demand it