THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says it will soon embark on a process to ensure that players in the real estate sector meet anti-money laundering requirements in order to detect suspicious transactions.
RBZ deputy director Banking Promotion and Financial Intelligence Unit Oliver Chiperesa speaking at the Real Estate Institute of Zimbabwe seminar said the sector is mostly vulnerable to money laundering especially in Zimbabwe which is largely a cash-based economy.
“There is a statutory requirement which stipulates that Real Estate players conform to anti money laundering and terrorism financing requirements. We have been reluctant and on your part you have not reported, so we intend to enforce that in the near future,” he said.
According to the requirements, key obligations are that a company should have a money laundering reporting officer, should report all suspicious transactions and should institute mechanisms to detect and fight that.
Chiperesa said sector players are required to carry out customer due diligence and know the source of funds.
“Zimbabwe is signatory to the international anti money laundering and terrorism financing protocols hence this should be a pre requisite for companies to adhere to standards,” he said.
Chiperesa said the financial services sector is now reporting to the Central bank cases of suspicious transactions.
“Banks are now reporting on their money laundering in order to meet the Financial Action Task Force world standard in anti-money laundering,” he said.
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an independent inter-governmental body that develops and promotes policies to protect the global financial system against money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
He added that estate agencies will be obligated to ask their customers their sources of money, they must carry out due diligence when dealing with customers through awareness and produce FATF document policy.
He said the real estate industry should invest in capacity to detect such suspicious transactions.
Chiperesa said RBZ will soon conduct a seminar with the players to give awareness on the requirements.’
Francis Nyambiri – who is also MD of Pearl Properties – encouraged real estate players to adhere to good ethics in valuation in spite of the difficult economic environment.-FinX