Kazembe Kazembe, Home Affairs minister

Zimbabwe aims to escape Fatf blacklist

HOME Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe has implored the lotteries and gaming industry to embrace new inventions in betting to increase revenue in a legitimate way as the country seeks to be removed from the Financial Action Task Force (Fatf) grey list.

Zimbabwe, which is currently on the grey list of Fatf, which means that it represents a higher risk of money laundering and terrorism financing, has, however, formally committed to work with the Fatf to develop an action plan.

Presenting his keynote address at the Lotteries and Gaming Board Strategic Workshop that ended yesterday in Marondera, Kazembe called on stakeholders to operate within the confines of the law.

“As the industry and its promoters become more sophisticated and proficient, so too must we as the regulator.

“We, therefore, must ensure our compliance regime remains sufficiently skilled and experienced to manage the responsibilities of the future,” Kazembe said.

In view of that, Kazembe said there was a need to consider the possibilities of conducting a major survey of the lotteries and gaming public as a way of assessing the habits of these stakeholders, “the type of games people are betting, with what frequency, as well as the age groups and economic backgrounds of punters”.

 “This vital information will fundamentally assist in plotting the trajectory of the industry, against the backdrop of the gaming industry trends.

“In this same vein, I am also aware of unsanctioned online betting prevailing in our sector and I am calling upon the Lotteries and Gaming Board to look into this issue.

“Going forward, the board must consider strategies to embrace this new invention and use of technology in betting as it widens our revenue and stakeholder base in a manner that does not jeopardise our standing as a country in as far as money laundering is concerned. 

“We are currently in the grey zone as far as Fatf is concerned and we are working very hard to ensure we comply with the expectations so that we can move out of this grey zone. We therefore will need time to interrogate the possibility of this route.”

The workshop was also attended by the Bookmakers Association and Casino operators with Kazembe saying their presence was vital and calling them to work within the dictates of the law.