Members of Parliament want government to institutionalize the appointments of members to sit on the Finance Institution Authority that is to monitor money laundering on behalf of government in the proposed Money Laundering Bill 2012.
MP Odonga Otto, while in the debating on the Finance committee report that was presented yesterday by the committee chairperson Robert Ssebunya, said that government should maintain that the institutions involved in monitoring money laundering like the Ministry of Finance and Bank of Uganda do appoint members to sit on the board to monitor the laundering process.
He said that it is important for these institutions to appoint members rather than giving individual minister powers to appoint people to sit on the board.
He noted that institutions should determine representatives on the board since they can best know capable and qualified people to monitor the laundering than when a Minister appoints someone incapable.
The Bill that was tabled last year by junior Finance Minister Matia Kasaija seeks to create Money Laundering Intelligence Unit within Bank of Uganda and mechanisms under which the government can share information with other countries.
The bill by then received a lot of protest from MPs who claimed that the proposed law was politically motivated and that it would kill foreign investment in the country.
The bill seeks to among others allow authorities to seize illicit funds entering the economy and institute criminal proceedings against the offenders.
It also seeks to create Money Laundering Intelligence Unit within Bank of Uganda and Mechanisms under which the government can share information with other countries, to set up a taskforce involving all stakeholders such as insurers, banks, police, business community, Ministry of Finance among others.
The Money Laundering Bill if enacted into Law is looked at as a tool to help reduce criminalility in the country.
The Chairperson of Parliament’s Finance Committee Robert Ssebunya told MPs that the Authority Board is going to be a part time board but not full time arguing that they do not want Ministries to appoint members to sit on this board since they want independent members and distant from the Ministries.
The bill in its current form had proposed representatives of supervisory and law enforcement agencies among others which could be considered peers in the intelligence authority.
However Ssebunya said that this implied that the intelligence authority could be governed by peers which could in effect compromise the independence of the authority.
Therefore he noted that the Finance Committee recommended for other categories of board members that are not considered to be at the same level with the authority.
MP Opolot Jacob Richards for Pallisa County noted that they have experience which is very recent in the connivance between Ministry of Finance and Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and that the people who were involved were key people in some committees in government hence arguing that if by accident we have some of them on the Finance Authority Board they might influence decisions of the board.