Uganda still on grey list for failing to curb money laundering

Uganda still on grey list for failing to curb money laundering

Uganda is in the crosshairs of anti-money laundering and terrorism financing agencies after failing to enforce regulations in the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) sector and slow progress on the prosecution of money laundering and corruption cases.

This has seen its capital, Kampala’s efforts to exit the global grey list over the past three years fail.

“The global Anti-Money Laundering/ Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) grey list maintained by the Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) based in Paris, consists of countries with significantly weak anti-money laundering and terrorist financing enforcement regimes; that are prone to be blacklisted in the international financial system in case of persistent compliance shortcomings,” financial experts say.

A grey list status usually translates into relatively high costs incurred on electronic financial transfers carried out by commercial banks, huge costs on the processing of letters of credit, increased transaction fees incurred on overseas remittances and reduced dollar inflows.


A new compliance deadline, June 2023, was issued last month after Uganda failed to fulfil the FATF requirements.

“We are optimistic to exit by yearend. The items remaining are very few, though the language/wording FATF used on a statement for Uganda has become much stronger,” said Michael Olupot Tukei, Deputy Executive Director at Uganda’s Financial Intelligence Authority

“The FATF expresses concern that Uganda failed to complete its action plan, which expired in May 2022. It strongly urges Uganda to swiftly demonstrate significant progress in completing its action plan by June 2023 or it will consider next steps if there is insufficient progress,” reads a FATF country assessment brief.

Nigeria and South Africa were added to the grey list. Other African countries are Tanzania, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mozambique, and Senegal.

“Many NGOs in Uganda rarely comply with AML/CFT regulations because they perceive themselves as low-risk entities. This explains why an NGO would receive $3 million from a foreign donor and not declare it to the FIA,” Robert Suuna, a consultant at the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), a Kenya-based NGO said.

“But the law does not allow the FIA to sanction NGOs for failure to file returns on large or suspicious transactions captured in their operations. However, the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) requires NGOs to disclose the identities of beneficial owners under new regulations and this might help increase awareness of AML/CFT compliance standards within the NGO sector,” Suuna said. (

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