Uganda is focused on fighting trade-based financial crime as it continues its efforts to strengthen its anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.

Last month the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) removed Uganda from its list of jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT deficiencies, but the country’s top tax official remains very concerned about illicit financial flows (IFFs).

Serious situation

“It is not far fetched to say that the situation in Uganda is dire,” Uganda Revenue Authority commissioner general, Doris Akol, said when asked how deep-rooted the problem with IFFs is in the country.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Third Prosecutors Symposium, she said the authority is looking at ways to curb several IFF typologies, including the use of trade misinvoicing to evade customs duty, VAT and income tax.

AML/CFT improvements

When FATF removed Uganda from its list of jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies, it said Uganda had made “significant progress in improving its AML/CFT regime and notes that Uganda has established the legal and regulatory framework to meet the commitments in its action plan.”

The country’s ability to address the strategic deficiencies identified by FATF in February 2014 means Uganda is no longer subject to the task force’s monitoring measures under its global AML/CFT compliance process.

Uganda will however continue to work with the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group as the country continues to address the full range of AML/CFT issues it faces.

IFF focus

Akol is not complacent and stressed that the URA’s key emphasis during 2017 has been to tackle IFFs, and this will continue.

This is because IFFs remain a “deadly haemorrhage” that need to be curtailed she concluded.