Tanzania fines five banks for lax anti-money laundering controls

Tanzania fines five banks for lax anti-money laundering controls
Tanzania fined five commercial banks for breaching the country’s anti-money laundering regulations. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2019

Tanzania fines five banks for lax anti-money laundering controls

Tanzania fines five banks for lax anti-money laundering controls
  • Fines were imposed ‘for failure to conduct proper customer due diligence and file suspicious transaction reports to the (state-run) Financial Intelligence Unit’

DAR ES SALAAM: Tanzania’s central bank said on Monday it had fined five commercial banks over $800,000 for breaching anti-money laundering rules, the latest in a series of moves aimed at tightening regulation in the financial services sector.

The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) said in a statement the fines were imposed “for failure to conduct proper customer due diligence and file suspicious transaction reports to the (state-run) Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).”

I&M Bank was slapped with the biggest fine at 655 million Tanzanian shillings ($284,782.61), followed by Equity Bank (580 million shillings), UBL Bank (325 million shillings), Habib African Bank (175 million shillings) and African Banking Corporation (145 million shillings).

The banks were not immediately available for comment.

The regulator gave three months to the sanctioned banks to implement various anti-money laundering measures, which include taking disciplinary action against all staff members “who were involved in opening implicated deposit accounts contrary to KYC (know your customer) requirements.”

Tanzania has tightened regulatory oversight over commercial banks and other financial institutions over the past few years.

The central bank last month gave all banks and financial institutions in Tanzania 90 days to establish primary data centers in the East African nation, saying it will impose hefty fines on lenders that fail to comply.

The country’s financial services sector, which is dominated by lenders like CRDB Bank and NMB Bank, has been hit by a spike in bad loans, which have stifled the growth of credit to the private sector.

In December, the International Monetary Fund said nearly half of Tanzania’s 45 banks were vulnerable to adverse shocks and risked insolvency in the event of a global financial crisis.

Tanzania’s central bank has revoked the licenses of at least nine banks since 2017, saying the move was aimed at safeguarding the stability of the sector.

The closure of the banks came after President John Magufuli ordered the central bank to take action against failing financial institutions.


Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment
Updated 16 January 2021

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment

Careem welcomes Saudization of ride-hailing sector, eyes further investment
  • Careem said the company had been affected by the pandemic because workers stayed at home and cut down on their travel

DUBAI: Ride-hailing service Careem has welcomed a government decision to fully localize the sector in the Kingdom, saying the move will help to create more jobs for Saudi drivers.

The Saudi Ministry of Transport said the new rule would have limited impact as citizens already made up 96 percent of the workforce in the ride-hailing sector.

“We are proud that over 100,000 Saudi nationals are finding income-earning opportunities with Careem each month,” a Careem spokesperson told Arab News. “We’ve worked hand-in-hand with the Transport General Authority and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to help the Kingdom achieve its ambitious agenda, and applaud the efforts the government is making to support Saudis working in the ride-hailing sector.”

The spokesperson added that Careem planned to continue investing in the Kingdom with a greater range of transportation and delivery services. 

Although Careem did not give specific numbers for its operations in Saudi Arabia, it said it had 33 million registered users in 13 countries across the region and operated in 28 Saudi cities.

Ibrahim Manna, managing director of global markets at Careem, said the company had been affected by the pandemic because workers stayed at home and cut down on their travel.

“COVID-19 has impacted our ride-hailing, starting in March,” he told Arab News. “This is a natural result of lockdowns, curfews and other limitations of movement, changing user behavior and habits in daily life.”

But while the ride-hailing service decreased, food delivery demand soared.

“Delivery was one of the big growth levers,” he added. “Due to the change in the daily lives and needs of the customer, we adapted quickly and provided them with what they needed most. We partnered up with many stores, pharmacies and restaurants, in order to deliver essentials to citizens in Saudi Arabia during a difficult time.”

On Thursday Mueed Al Saeed, assisting vice president of Land Transport Regulation of the Public Transport Authority, said there were 16 companies including Careem licensed to operate ride-hailing services in the Kingdom.

He also said 300 million trips had been carried out during the past three years, and that there were 250,000 drivers actively working for these services.