Anti-money Laundering Workshop, Lilongwe, Malawi.

Anti-money Laundering Workshop, Lilongwe, Malawi.

AGA-Africa Programme in collaboration with the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) of Malawi hosted a two-day workshop on Anti-Money Laundering on 18th and 19th March, 2019 in Lilongwe, Malawi. The workshop brought together thirty magistrates and was aimed at building their capacity in handling money laundering crimes, enhance their knowledge and skill levels in anti-money laundering/combating financing of terrorism, facilitate exchange of knowledge and experiences and identify challenges and solutions regarding identification, investigation and prosecution of money laundering and terrorism financing.

Thomas Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General, Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office made enlightening presentations on the Basics of terrorist financing, US Statute Overview/Comparison to Malawi Financial Crimes Act, Fact Patterns of Money Laundering Offenses and Terrorist financing: Investigations, Prosecutions and Convictions.

He took participants through a thought-provoking session on the link between terrorism and money laundering and highlighted the financing process/flow of this criminal syndicate.

“Financing is one of the greatest vulnerabilities confronting terrorists and terrorist organizations. Every terrorist attack tells a financial story. Investigations of this nature are driven usually by financial clues identified at the outset of the crime-scene investigation.  Understanding the financial flows that support terrorism can lead to identification of suspicious financial activity and thus disrupting the money.”

Eugene Griffin, Senior Financial Investigator,

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, presented on the Basics of Money Laundering, Actual Results/Investigation/Prosecution and Domestic Cooperation and information. He stated that partnerships between law enforcement agencies, major financial institutions and public agencies is an important process in curbing money laundering and terrorism financing. He later took the participants through the challenges in dealing with money laundering and terrorist financing cases, a discussion that elicited discussion among participants on actual ways of dealing with these types of crimes.

Edwin Matonga, Director for Legal & Corporate Service, Financial Intelligence Authority gave an overview of the new Financial Crimes Act, Confiscation: Freezing, Seizing and Recovering Assets and International Cooperation: Mutual Legal assistance. He highlighted the major changes in the Act, including the change in FIA functions and powers, reporting entities and changes in the law enforcement procedure. He noted that lack of administrative penalties, absence of laws on non confiscation and confiscation fund, absence of provisions to freeze terrorist funds as some of  the gaps in the old act that led to its appeal.

“Malawi has the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (MACM) Act that provides a legal basis that allows it to provide the widest possible range of mutual Legal Assistance.”