- Chairman says failure could lead to reversal of gains made in anti-money laundering
Speaking at the opening of the legal year in Gaborone this week, the Chairman of LSB, Thekiso Thekiso complained that although they are a statutory organisation with a non-profit mandate, the government is reluctant to finance LSB as it does other institutions in both the private and the public sectors.
Thekiso noted that LSB is in a continuous financial struggle because its only source of money is subscriptions and other fees paid by its members. “More alarming is government’s insistence that its lawyers continue to be exempt from paying subscription fees to the Society,” he said, adding that a government subvention for LSB should be seen as something in the interest of the public.
Thekiso noted the inception of AML/CFT/CFP has increased the burden on the Society, because it now has to supervise its members for compliance with anti-money laundering laws. “This mandate requires a new department fully resourced with personnel and all the necessary tools,” he said. “The Society is not in a position to open such a department due to financial constraints.”
He noted that LSB does not even have an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) officer who is responsible for this task at the moment but the AML bills currently placed before Parliament attest to this need after Botswana was recently removed from the FATF greylist. Thekiso warned that failure to make provision for funding of LSB will results in its failure to carry out its mandate effectively and “reversal of the gains the nation has made against AML”.
He called on the government to live up to its promise of offering a subvention to LSB that it made when it decided to prevent state attorneys and those working for parastatals to pay subscriptions to the Society.