The Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) is a Government agency established under section 18 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), 2013. The mandate of the Authority is to detect and deter money laundering and terrorist financing by providing information relating to financial transactions to law enforcement and competent authorities to support investigation and prosecution of money laundering, terrorist financing and other related crimes.
The Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2013 designates certain businesses and professions as Accountable Persons. Accountable Persons are listed in the second schedule to the AMLA, and they are persons and businesses that might be used as channels to launder money or finance terrorism. The law therefore imposes a number of obligations on Accountable Persons, including;
i. reporting suspicious and large cash transactions;
ii. keeping records;
iii. conducting customer due diligence (including establishing and verifying customer identities);
iv. registering with Financial Intelligence Authority;
v. putting in place and implementing continuous employee training programs to keep informed of all aspects of AntiMoney Laundering and Combating Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT); and
vi. putting in place internal controls, procedures and policies with measures for detecting and preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.
In exercise of the powers conferred on the Minister responsible for Finance, Planning and Economic Development by section 139 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2013, and in consultation with the Financial Intelligence Authority Board, and the approval of Parliament, the Second Schedule to the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2013 was amended by Parliament on November 20, 2020 to include Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) as Accountable Persons. The Statutory Instrument was published in the National Gazette, vide Vol. CX111 No.77 on 27th November, 2020.
In the amendment, Virtual Asset Service Providers, are defined to include, a natural or legal person who conducts one or more of the following activities for or on behalf of another natural or legal person;
i. The exchange between virtual assets and fi at currencies;
ii. The transfer of virtual assets;
iii. The safekeeping or administration of virtual assets or instruments enabling control over virtual assets; and
iv. The participation in or provision of financial services related to an insurer’s offer or sale of a virtual asset.
TAKE NOTE that, as Accountable Persons, all Virtual Asset Service Providers shall, with immediate effect, be subjected to the supervision and monitoring by the Financial Intelligence Authority for purposes of combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
The Financial Intelligence Authority hereby requires all Virtual Asset Service Providers to comply with all the legal requirements in the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2013 (as amended), the regulations made thereunder and all relevant guidelines issued by the Financial Intelligence Authority. All Virtual Asset Service Providers are therefore required to register with the Financial Intelligence Authority as accountable persons within 30 days from the day of publication of the Instrument in the National Gazette. The affected persons and businesses are therefore called upon to register with the Financial Intelligence Authority not later than 27th December, 2020. (For details on registration reference should be made to our website: www.fia.go.ug).
If you or your business is a VASP and you need more information, then we advise you to get in touch with the Financial Intelligence Authority at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: +256-417-892600 so we can support you in meeting your compliance obligations
We appreciate your cooperation and look forward to the utmost fulfilment of your legal obligations.