ACODE, FIA to work with journalists in exposing Trade Based Money Laundering cases in Uganda

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By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/ KMA Updates.

Kampala, Uganda: Trade Based Money Laundering, (TBML) is becoming a great vice to economies of the World in so doing effective actions to counter it need to take route.

A section of Journalists seen during Media Training on Trade Based Money Laundering Landscape in Uganda organized by Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, (ACODE)  at Hotel Protea SKYZ, Naguru yesterday. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

A CSO, Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, (ACODE) on Wednesday morning equipped different journalists on how they can use their profession to help MDAs- (Ministries Departments and Agencies) like Financial Intelligence Authority to  curb TBML in Uganda

It should be remembered that the Financial Intelligence Authority was established by the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2013 (AMLA) and has the mandate to combat money Laundering, countering Terrorism financing and countering Proliferation

The other mandate is to enhance identification of proceeds of crime, Increase public awareness and understanding of matters related to Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing and Proliferation, Collection and dissemination of information to competent authorities, Strengthen international cooperation in issues related to Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.

While presenting at the Media Training on Trade Based Money Laundering Landscape in Uganda, Michael Olupot-Tukei the Deputy Executive Director of Financial Intelligence Authority mentions that TBML is a so critical that it requires extra intelligence to counter it as in most cases it is carried out by professional money launderers from county to country.

Michael Olupot-Tukei the Deputy Executive Director of Financial Intelligence Authority presents during Media Training on Trade Based Money Laundering Landscape in Uganda organized by Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, (ACODE)  at Hotel Protea SKYZ, Naguru yesterday. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

He also mentions that it is also carried out through illegitimate trade ways like overpricing, underpricing, phantom stock, multiple pricing, misrepresentation, violation of bill of lading and others.

He reveals that Trade Based Money Laundering is brought about many factors that among others include, less monitoring of trade related transactions compared to others, digitalization of the economy, red flags-structural based indicators like (mass registration address, many third party intermediaries, miss-invoicing/under-invoicing, registration of an activity different from the actual one).

(L-R), Onesmus Mugenyi, the Deputy Executive Director and a Research fellow at Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, ACODE and Michael Olupot-Tukei the Deputy Executive Director of Financial Intelligence Authority are seen attentively listening to zoom presentation by Jackie Wahome, Policy Analyst for East and Southern Africa at Global Financial Integrity via zoom based in Kenya. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

He believes that journalists will be aided to execute their investigative reporting by accessing suspicious reports provided by Financial Intelligence Authority, investigating on precious goods like gold, search for judicial information, police reports, direct information from informants, weighing in on monetary value to actual product value and others.

He however decried absence of standing confiscation policy on properties found to be existing as a result of money laundering which he says should be expedited if their intelligence role and investigations by IGG is to be relevant.

While delivering her remarks via zoom during Media Training on Trade Based Money Laundering Landscape in Uganda, Jackie Wahome the Policy Analyst for East and Southern Africa at Global Financial Integrity based in Kenya mentions devastative effects of TBML to country’s economy which include among others include enabling criminals conduct illicit activities, enabling criminals hide illicit profits, funding crime and terrorism, great effects to human rights, affects country’s tax revenue since there is no clear documentation.

Jackie Wahome is a Policy Analyst for East and Southern Africa at Global Financial Integrity based in Kenya speaks to journalists via zoom/Courtesy Photo.

She equipped journalists with different ways they can unearth such illicit transactions by, Understanding the concept Trade Based Money Laundering itself, identify valuable sectors, then follow then trail-that’s hunting for information sources especially trade investigative leaning ones though some have open access and others are paid for. such sources include, Pandola, Panjiva, Company House-UK, The Observatory of Economic Complexity and others.

She adds that journalists should also spot red flags through critical observation of products/commodity, documentation, company structure and others.

Wahome also believes that there is need for journalists to have additional learning in line with related aspect as they can seek vacancies with recognized platforms like Finance uncovered, Grants/journalism funded,  Global Investigative Journalism Network, (GIJN) and others.

Before, Journalists had raised concerns regarding hoarding of information by relevant authorities which paralyze their effective reporting.

Journalists seen during Media Training on Trade Based Money Laundering Landscape in Uganda organized by Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, (ACODE)  at Hotel Protea SKYZ, Naguru yesterday. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

They also did mention of the recent Coffee Agreement between Government of Uganda and an investor in the names of Enrica Pinetti who recently signed a UGX281Bn as a witness yet is the real person which too disables clear invitation.

They went on to inform the organizers that sometimes would like to go deep in uncovering such impacting stories but lack enough training in some matters in addition to facilitation towards final execution.

Onesmus Mugenyi, the Deputy Executive Director and a Research fellow at Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, ACODE mentions that as per their mandate of policy research and analysis, policy outreach and capacity building, they will be able to get in touch with journalists where they can to see that advocacy towards policy enforcement and information is reached.

Onesmus Mugenyi, the Deputy Executive Director and a Research fellow at Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, ACODE delivers his points during Media Training on Trade Based Money Laundering Landscape in Uganda at at Hotel Protea SKYZ, Naguru yesterday. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

He praised Financial Intelligence Authority for its robust interventions towards hunting down Money Laundering cases in Uganda in order to create a stable economy free from financial shortages.

He informs that ACODE is looking forward to partnering with all relevant authorities, journalists in particulars towards creating a desirable society with policy adherence.

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