Dar es Salaam. People intending to move $10,000 or its equivalent in cash out of Zanzibar without declaring the same to the revenue authority may find themselves in trouble. This comes on the back of the government’s decision to extend anti-money laundering measures to the Isles.
The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) announced at the weekend that TRA-Zanzibar will start implementing the legislation on anti-money laundering today.
“TRA-Zanzibar is implementing the Anti-Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act (No. 10 of 2009), and the Anti-Money Laundering (Cross-Border Declaration of Currency and Bearer Negotiable Instruments) Regulations, 2015,” TRA said in a statement on Saturday.
TRA’s taxpayer education and services director, Mr Richard Kayombo, told The Citizen that this is to sensitize the public on the importance of declaring financial instruments in line with the law, noting that “the exercise is practised everywhere in the world.”
The exercise, which starts to be implemented in Zanzibar today, was rolled out in Tanzania Mainland last year. The law forbids one from moving $10,000 or more – or its equivalent in Tanzanian shillings or any foreign currency – across Tanzania’s borders without declaring same to TRA’s Customs Department.
Customs Officers at the Abedi Amani Karume and Pemba Airports, as well as at Malindi, Mkoani and Wete seaports, will henceforth issue declaration forms to be filled in by travelers.
Non-declaration or false declaration of the prescribed amount is an offence punishable by law.
Late last year, a Ugandan national, Winfreda Rwabutiti Businge, 33, was charged with attempting to enter Tanzania with $1 million (about Sh2.2 billion) without declaring same to Customs.
Ms Businge denied the charge and was released on bail pending hearing and determination of the case.
During the past two years, the government undertook several measures to curb money-laundering in the economy. So far, the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) has de-licensed almost half of the country’s 297 forex bureaux.
Also, the government tightened forex controls by raising the minimum capital requirement for forex bureaux, placed a moratorium on new operations and required extant traders to apply for new licences.
Capital levels were raised to Sh300 million, from Sh100 million for bureaux dealing in spot forex transactions. For those additionally dealing in money transfers, the minimum threshold was set at Sh1 billion, up from Sh250 million.
BoT also doubled the non-interest bearing deposit held as security for money transfer transactions by the central bank to $100,000.