Eastern and South African Anti-Money Laundering Group
The Eastern and South African Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) comprises fourteen countries from the eastern region of Africa down to the southern tip. The Memorandum of Understanding provides the foundations for the Group was drawn up in August 1999. The ratified member states currently are Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Seychelles, Tanzania and Uganda. Lesotho, Zambia and Zimbabwe have not yet signed the memorandum.
Members agree to participate in a program of mutual evaluation.
The objectives voiced by ESAAMLG center around the money laundering and terrorist financing recommendations produced by the FATF, whose reproduction assist in populating the web page. In the Memorandum of Understanding among the member governments, the objectives are outlined as:
- Adoption and implementation of the 40 Recommendations of the FATF
- Application of anti-money laundering measures to all serious crimes
- Implementation of any other measures contained in multilateral agreements and initiatives to which the member governments subscribe for the prevention and control of money laundering of the proceeds of all serious crimes
ESAAMLG consists of three key bodies:
- The Ministerial Council (the Council)
- The Task Force of Senior Officials
- The Secretariat
The Council is the decision-making body of ESAAMLG and consists of at least one representative from each member country. The Council annually elects a president and a vice-president (who may not be from the same country). The Council's role includes approving the work program for the following year, approving sources of funding and deciding on policy matters.
The Task Force meets twice annually and is responsible for reviewing implementation of the approved work program, considers self- and mutual-evaluation reports on member countries and makes recommendations on policy matters.
There seems to be a wide role for Observers in the ESAAMLG process, which may include organisations that support or are interested in ESAAMLG, countries that are considering becoming Co-operating and Supporting Nations, and any other country or organisation invited by the Council.
Initial Observers are the Commonwealth Secretariat, the UN Global Programme Against Money Laundering, the FATF Secretariat, the World Bank, IMF, Interpol, the SADC Secretariat, the COMESA Secretariat, the EAC Secretariat, African Development Bank and the Eastern and South African Development Bank.
Implementation of the FATF Forty Guidelines and the Nine Special Recommendations in many of the ESAAMLG was in a very early stage at the time of the regional organisation's establishment. As a result, external relations have been important to advancing the objectives of the ESAAMLG and influential in the shaping of future policies.
Relations with the U.S
The United States is a Co-operating and Supporting Country and US representatives were present at the launch of the ESAAMLG. It has maintained this interactive role in a variety of ways:
- The U.S. contributed $70,000 dollars to the ESAAMLG in October 2003. A press release on this donation mentions the availability of the United States "to help nurture the Group."
- A bilateral agreement was signed between Tanzania and the United States in August 2002. The agreement creates a work plan for Tanzania to build its capacity for prevention, investigation and prosecution through improved legislation and regulation, including financial information gathering and analysis. A news report covering the meeting stated that US Secretary of the Treasury had offered technical assistance in anti-money laundering to every country in the world.
- In October 2001, the United States requested the assistance of the ESAAMLG states in locating companies that it was claimed had links with Osama Bin Laden by identifying their existence and freezing relevant bank accounts. More information.
IMF and the World Bank
The IMF and the World Bank organized an April 2005 conference in Lesotho , which the ESAAMLG attended. The purpose of the conference was to discuss best practices and compliance with the international standards and outline the technical assistance required to implement the standards.