SOUTH AFRICA: COMMENCEMENT OF SECTIONS 31 AND 56 OF THE FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE CENTRE ACT, 2001

By Bright Tibane,Kirsten Kern Wednesday, January 25, 2023
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On 20 January 2023, a proclamation was published in terms of which sections 31 and 56 of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, 2001 (FICA) will take effect on 1 February 2023 (Proclamation).

Section 31 relates to electronic transfers of money to or from South Africa and section 56 relates to the failure to report such electronic transfers

Amendments to the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Control Regulations, 2002 (FICA Regulations) relating to sections 31 and 56 of FICA were also published and will likewise take effect on 1 February 2023.

Section 31 of FICA places an obligation on accountable institutions to report electronic transfers of money, above a prescribed threshold amount, to or from South Africa to the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) within a prescribed period, this report being referred to as an ‘international fund transfer report’ (IFTR). Section 56 of FICA makes the failure to file an IFTR where there is an obligation to do so an offence, in respect of which an administrative penalty may be imposed.

In terms of the FICA Regulations, the prescribed threshold amount that triggers an obligation to file an IFTR with the FIC is ZAR 19 999.99, and an accountable institution is required to file the relevant IFTR no later than three days after a natural person, employee or officer of the institution becomes aware of the transaction triggering an IFTR filing obligation. The FICA Regulations also set out the information that an IFTR must contain and reiterate that a contravention of section 31 is an offence.

The FIC has published Draft Guidance Note 104A (Draft GN 104A), which aims to assist accountable institutions to meet their IFTR filing obligations in terms of FICA and the FICA Regulations. Interested parties are invited to make comments on the content of Draft GN 104A using the prescribed form by no later than 1 February 2023.

A copy of the Proclamation can be accessed here, the updated FICA Regulations can be accessed here, Draft GN 104A can be accessed here, and the invitation to comment on Draft GN 104A can be accessed here.