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Understanding the Cross Border Cash, BNIs Declaration, Disclose

By IGIHE
On 8 December 2023 at 08:57

Cross-border cash/Bearer Negotiable Instruments (BNIs) is considered as one of the most dangerous methods and techniques that the criminals employ in money laundering and terrorist financing internationally. Criminals or terrorists fund their activities or launder their criminal proceeds by taking cash/BNI across the borders, so as to conceal or disguise the source or destination of the transported cash or bearer negotiable instruments. For that reason, International, Regional and National mechanisms were established to fight Money Laundering and Terrorist financing through the control of cross border cash/BNIs movement.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body established to lead global action to tackle money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing, put in place international standards commonly known as FATF 40 recommendations.

In its recommendation 32, countries are required to have measures in place to detect the physical cross-border transportation of currency and bearer negotiable instruments, including a declaration system or other disclosure obligations.

By this Recommendation, countries are required to ensure that their competent authorities have the legal authority to stop or restrain currency or bearer negotiable instruments that are suspected of being related to terrorist financing, money laundering, predicate offense, or that are falsely declared or disclosed whether by travellers, through mail, cargo and any other modes of transportation.

Moreover, Countries are required to ensure that effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions are available to deal with persons who make false declarations and disclosures, as well as carrying out a physical cross-border transportation of currency or BNIs that are related to Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing or predicate offences.

To implement the above recommendation, the Law nÂș 028/2023 of 19/05/2023 on the prevention and punishment of money laundering, terrorist financing and the financing of proliferation of weapons, requires a person who leaves, transits or enters Rwanda carrying or transporting currency or bearer negotiable instruments of a value equal to or exceeding a pre-set threshold to declare or disclose them to the competent authority.

Who has to disclose?

A person aged at least 18 years old who enters into the territory of the Republic of Rwanda with physical transportation of cash or bearer negotiable instrument, of which value is equal or above the threshold, discloses to the competent authority upon request.

A person under 18 years old traveling to Rwanda when he/she is not accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or another person has also to disclose when requested to do so by competent Authority.

Who is obliged to declare?

A person aged 18 years who is in transit through or departing from the territory of the Republic of Rwanda and who is transporting cash or bearer negotiable instrument of which value is equal or above the threshold, declares it to the competent authority.

This requirement also applies to the person under 18 years when travelling without parent or guardian or another person carrying the cash/BNIs above the threshold.

The declaration is done upfront in writing, electronically or using a declaration form available at the competent authority.

Threshold of cash or bearer negotiable instrument subject to declaration or communication

A person who makes a physical cross-border transportation of cash or bearer negotiable instruments of which value is equal to or above FRW 10,000,000 or its equivalent in other currencies while travelling to, transiting through or departing from the territory of the Republic of Rwanda, submits a truthful declaration or discloses appropriate information to the competent authority.

The amount of cash or the value of bearer negotiable instrument carried by a person under 18 years old, who is accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or another person is added to the amount of cash or the value of bearer negotiable instrument carried by his or her parent, guardian or another person accompanying him or her in order to determine whether such amount or value is not equal or above the threshold above mentioned.

In case the total amount of cash or value of bearer negotiable instrument of the person under 18 years old and that of his or her parent, guardian or another person is equal or above the threshold, the parent, guardian or another person declares or discloses the total amount or value to competent authority.

Action taken in case of false declaration or disclosure or failure to declare or disclose

If there is a cash courier who makes false declaration or disclosure or fails to declare or disclose, the staff of the competent authority.

(a) stops the cash courier or bearer negotiable instrument and restrains them within two hours for further action;

(b) requests information from the cash courier with regard to the origin of the cash or bearer negotiable instrument and their intended use; and

(c) immediately imposes to the defaulter an administrative fine of 5% of the transported cash or the value of the bearer negotiable instrument, without prejudice to criminal sanctions. That fine is deposed to the National Treasury.

Action taken in case of suspicion of money laundering, terrorist financing, financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or predicate offences

In case there is suspicion of money laundering, terrorist financing or financing of proliferation, the staff of the competent authority:

stops the cash courier or bearer negotiable instrument, retrains them and informs the Centre of the suspicious cross-border transportation incident within 30 minutes;

requests information from the cash courier with regard to the origin of the cash or bearer negotiable instrument and their intended use; and

submits the case to the organ in charge of investigation within three hours if there are serious grounds of suspecting of money laundering, terrorist financing, financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or predicate offences.

The role of cross border cash/BNIs declaration/disclose in fighting money laundering/Terrorist financing

The cross-border cash/BNIs declaration/Disclosure system is an important tool to monitor the movement of money physically transported by travellers whether in the cash or in the form of BNIs; hence, the system is useful to prevent criminals from transporting dirty cash/BNIs from countries to countries, to detect the illegally acquired funds and prevent them from being used to finance illegal activities as well as to detect funds designated to finance terrorism.


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