Botswana was removed from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) greylist, denoting positive strides in the country’s fight against illicit finance flows, money laundering and terrorism financing.
The FATF decision was met with jubilations at the Office where a press conference was called to share this good news. President Mokgweetsi Masisi narrated the efforts Botswana made to escape from the notorious list of the countries considered a threat to the international financial system. The removal essentially means that Botswana has shaken off the taglines such as tax havens, and launderers’ paradise that attached have to it over the last few years.
Said the FATF announcement: “The following countries had their progress since June 2021 reviewed by the FATF: Albania, Barbados, Botswana, Cambodia, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Malta, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, the Philippines, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. These countries have ‘strategic deficiencies.’”
Even so, Botswana and Mauritius were removed while Burkina Faso, Haiti and South Sudan opted to postpone their progress reporting. Illustrating the risk that the grey-listing posted, FATF shared a list of countries which are still to be removed from its grey list after failing to satisfy the anti-money laundering (AML) rules as outlined by the organisation.
The list of those still on the FATF watch list include notorious countries like Malta which is often described as “a country built on dirty money”. The Meditarranean archipelago gained negative publicity in the Panama Papers recently that exposed tax havens used by individuals and shell companies from over 200 countries.
At some point, Botswana was also blacklisted by the European Union (EU) Commission for the reasons as FATF’s. The removal comes at a time when the world faces more threats of financial crimes because of crypto currencies and flows of money in the era of COVID-19.
Countries that get blacklisted by FATF are said to be deficient in curbing money-laundering and financing terrorism crimes. Grey-listed nations are those under increased monitoring.