The Financial Intelligence Centre Act (Fica) was introduced as part of South Africa's commitment to combat money laundering and related crimes. Fica places compulsory record retaining and disclosure obligations on all law firms.
Cliffe Dekker is obliged to establish and verify the identity of each client prior to establishing a business relationship or concluding a single transaction with that client. Records must be maintained of all dealings with clients and all suspicious and unusual transactions must be reported to the Financial Intelligence Centre. The firm has prepared a questionnaire detailing the information required in terms of Fica, which clients will be asked to complete in due course.
The firm will also be required to report cash transactions and electronic transfers of money to and from the Republic in excess of prescribed amounts.
Our reporting obligations do not interfere with the common law right of legal professional privilege. Any information which is privileged is not subject to disclosure in terms of Fica.
The role of the Financial Intelligence Centre will be to collect, retain, compile and analyse all information disclosed to it. It will not investigate any criminal activity, but will furnish information to the investigating authorities, intelligence services and the South African Revenue Services.
Clients should please contact the director or professional with whom they most commonly have contact, if they have any queries concerning Fica. Information can also be accessed through the Financial Intelligence Centre website (www.fic.gov.za).
While Cliffe Dekker will strive to balance the interests of its clients against the obligations imposed on it in terms of Fica, the firm is committed to assisting in the prevention of money laundering and the due fulfilment of our obligations in terms of FICA.
For further information, please contact Vanda Forssman, director, Cliffe Dekker attorney.