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Understanding crimes and sanctions of Money Laundering, terrorism financing and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and related crimes

By IGIHE
On 30 juin 2022 at 11:38

The Government of Rwanda never tolerates the crimes of money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and has put in place different legal and institutional mechanisms to prevent and fight against them. It is in this context that, the Law nº 75/2019 of 29/01/2020 on prevention and punishment of money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction was published and later amended by the Law nº 038/2021 of 28/07/2021.

This Law provides for preventive mechanisms and penalties for money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

What is Money Laundering ?

Money laundering is an economic crime that can be committed by any person by doing one of the following acts :

a) the conversion, transfer or handling of property or funds whose perpetrator knows or is likely to know that such property or funds is the proceeds of crime or it derives from an act of participation in such crime ;

b) the concealment, disguise of the true nature, origin, location, movement, disposition, donation, disguise of the beneficial owner of the property or funds or the person having rights on it, knowing or likely to know that such a property or funds is proceeds of crime or from an act of participation in such crime ;

c) acquisition, possession or use of property or funds the author knows or is likely to know, at the time of reception, that such a property or funds is derived from proceeds of crime or from an act of participation in such crime ;

d) participation in, association with or conspiracy to commit, attempt to commit, aiding, inciting, abetting, facilitating or counselling the commission of any of the acts specified under items a, b and c.

Money laundering is committed even if the original acts leading to the acquisition, disposition or transfer of the property or funds to be laundered or the protection of the author, are carried out on the territory of a third State.

Perpetrator of money laundering gets involved in such illegal acts knowing that or is likely to know that the concerned property or fund is the proceed of crime or is delivered from an act of participation in such crime.

Penalties for Money laundering

Money laundering s a felony offense that is punishable by imprisonment and fine. A person who carries out money laundering act, or who is involved in an association aiming at committing one of the acts of money laundering, upon conviction is punished to an imprisonment for a term of not less than seven (7) years but not more than ten (10) years and a fine of Rwandan francs of three (3) to five (5) times the amount of money laundered. In case of recidivism, these penalties are doubled.

What is financing of terrorism ?

Financing of terrorism is defined as follows :

a) an act committed by a natural or legal person who by any means provides, collects or manages any property or funds whether from legitimate or illegitimate source, directly or indirectly, or attempts to do so, with the intention that they should be used or in the knowledge that they are to be used in whole or in part to carry out a terrorist act ; or by a terrorist or by a terrorist organization ;

b) offering advice, financing of teaching or training in order to acquire skills and knowledge knowing that they may be used, or intended to be used for terrorism act and the financing of travelling of individuals who travel to States other than their States or their States of residence for the purpose of the perpetration, planning or preparation of, or participation in terrorist acts, or the providing or receiving of terrorist training.

The offense of financing of terrorism can be committed by any person whether natural or legal person through different ways such as collecting or providing resources and materials to terrorist or terrorist group or for terrorism activities ; offering advice and training with the intention of facilitating terrorism activities.

Penalties for the financing of terrorism

A person who is convicted of the offense of terrorism financing or who is involved in an association aiming at committing one of the acts of financing terrorism is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than twenty (20) years but not more than twenty-five (25) years and a fine of Rwandan francs of three (3) to five (5) times the amount of money given. In case of recidivism, these penalties are doubled

What is financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction ?

There is an offense of financing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction if one of the following acts is carried out :

a) providing property or funds for the manufacture, production, possession, acquisition, stockpiling, development, transportation, sale, supply, transfer, import, export, transhipment or use of nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, biological weapons and such other materials, as may be prescribed, which are related to such weapons ;

b) providing technical training, property or funds, financial service, advice, service, brokering or assistance related to any of the activities specified under item a.

Penalties for financing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

A person who is convicted of financing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction offense is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than fifteen (15) years but not more than twenty (20) years and a fine of Rwandan francs of five (5) to ten (10) times the amount of money given. In case of recidivism, these penalties are doubled.

It should be noted that a person who facilitates another person to benefit from laundered property or funds of a terrorist or of someone who may be a terrorist, by concealing, shifting from one place to another, transferring to other people the property or funds commits an offence. Upon conviction, he/she is liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than ten (10) years but not more than fifteen (15) years.

Furthermore, if a person is convicted of money laundering, terrorism financing or financing of proliferation crimes, a part from imprisonment and fine she/he is liable to, the court also orders the confiscation of property or funds emanating from the offence, including revenues and other advantages which were drawn from it.

Penalties against a legal entity convicted of money laundering, financing of terrorism or financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction

Money laundering, financing terrorism and financing proliferation of weapons of mass destructions are offenses that can be committed by natural or legal persons.

A legal entity that carries out money laundering, financing of terrorism or financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destructions acts through their representatives or members, commits an offence. Upon conviction, that legal entity is liable to a fine of Rwandan francs of ten (10) to twenty (20) times the amount of money laundered or given, without prejudice to the liability for complicity of its representatives.

The Court’s decision stating the penalties is published in newspapers and through any other means used by the media.

Request to People

Money laundering, financing terrorism and financing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are very serious economic crimes that not only hinder the individual development and economic development of countries but also affect their security and safety.

The general public should be aware of the bad effects of those crimes and be active partners in the fight against them.

People should be of integrity and never get involved in criminal activities and not allow others to use them in hiding proceeds of crimes or for terrorism activities.

This is message is provided by FIC, a public Agency with the mandate of preventing and fighting against money laundering, financing of terrorism and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.


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