Rwanda raises Penalties Against Money Laundering, Financing Terrorism

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During the review of the Anti-money laundering and terrorism financing act by parliament, Rwanda raised jail terms for criminals from 7 to 10 years to over 20 years. The decision to revise the act emerge last year after it was discovered that the country law was not very effective as against its goal to join the war against financial crimes. When assessed in 2014 based on the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), report shows that Rwanda was still behind in implementing the laws and recommendation of the agency. The gaps identified in the assessment include lack of punishment for supply of weapon of mass destruction, and low punishment compared to the severity of the offense.

The Chairperson of the Parliament budgetary committee, MP Omar Munyaneza said that increased jail terms up to 25 years, multiplying of fines from 3 to 5 times the amount laundered, and 15 to 20 years jail terms plus 5 to 10 times fines of money involved for funders responsible for the supply of weapon of mass destruction are the responses to the gaps identified in the assessment. Initially, there were concerns that there could be a contradiction between the existing law against corruption and newly introduced law on money-laundering. However, MP Veneranda Nyirahirwa has noted that the penalties are separately provided for by the law and will not in any way contradict each other.