AFRICA: Tax Evasion Most Prevalent Financial Crime in Rwanda, according to statistics.

As published on allafrica.com, Wednesday 25 August, 2021.

Tax evasion is the most prevalent financial crime in Rwanda, in terms of money lost, according to statistics from over the last five years, indicating that over Rwf20bn were lost to the vice during this period.

According to a report by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), corruption which involves embezzlement of government funds is the most prevalent financial crime in terms of cases, with 1,076 of them recorded.

The Financial Intelligence Centre, which previously operated under the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) is involved in ensuring compliance of regulation and enforcement of the laws and rules in finance and the capital markets.

Operations include the entire financial spectrum, from investment banking practices to retail banking practices.

Revenue investigation enforcement, a department within Rwanda Revenue Authority in charge of investigating financial crimes, said that they have ongoing task to tackle the vice, including enforcing a Memorandum of Understanding with Rwanda National Police and Rwanda Investigation Bureau to pursue perpetrators of the crimes.

"We are working with the general public to track down financial crimes", Paulin Uwitonze, the Deputy Commissioner for Taxpayer Services said.

"We received $200,000 from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to facilitate the regulation and monitoring of financial crimes. This is important simply because it is all about enabling transparency and integrity in the financial markets while protecting customers, investors, the economy and society from financial crime, market manipulation, ethical threats, and systemic risk," he added.

Jean Marie Nyirurugo, the Head of Monitoring and Analysis Department at the FIC said that money laundering is often a genesis of other financial crimes as there is a need to 'clean' the proceeds.

He said that technology has played a big part in the management of financial crimes with systems used evolving to improve efficiency.

According to Bernard Nsegiyumva in charge of developing financial sector laws and regulations at the National Bank of Rwanda, the statistics are a reminder on the need to review approaches to handling financial crime.

"It is clear that financial institutions need to refresh their approach in handling financial crime and regulatory compliance. Financial Investigations need to come up with strategies to stay ahead of the ever-changing criminal and regulatory landscape" he said.

He said that applying advanced analytics will help to discover complex and subtle threats, as well as emerging ones.

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