Pretoria Committed to Closing


The South African government is to move to ensure local banks
cannot launder UNITA diamond money.

IRIN/Johannesburg Mail & Guardian
October 27, 1999

The South African government is working on legislation to provide greater oversight of a traditionally secretive banking industry, say sources close to the United Nations Panel of Experts on Angola Sanctions.

In a briefing to Parliament on Friday, the chairman of the UN panel of experts, Andreas Mollander, said his team is investigating allegations that banks in several countries - including South Africa - have been involved in laundering money made by Angolan Unita rebels from illegal diamond sales.

"New legislation is being drafted [on money laundering], the government at the moment doesn't have all the tools to act more effectively," one source said this week. "If we could have a success story in South Africa to close some sanctions loopholes it would have a significant impact in Angola."

The UN panel, in South Africa as part of a regional tour to investigate reports of sanctions-busting, has held a series of meetings with the government, the Reserve Bank, the state-owned weapons manufacturer Denel and security experts. A South African foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday that the government has assured the team of its commitment to sanctions policy, and "promised to keep working" with the Angola sanctions committee headed by Canadian ambassador Robert Fowler.

UN Security Council sanctions against Unita include arms and military assistance, petroleum products, diamond exports, the movement of Unita funds and travel restrictions on senior rebel officials.

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