The four statutory provincial Law Societies - the Cape Law Society, the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society, the Law Society of the Free State and the Law Society of the Northern Provinces – pledged their commitment to combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism today when they signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) in terms of Section 45 (1D) of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, Act No 38 of 2001 (FIC Act).
The law societies acknowledged the importance of concluding the MoUs: “The MoUs are a significant step for the legal profession in South Africa. The provincial law societies – which are the regulatory bodies for attorneys – have now taken on the additional mantle of supervisory bodies in terms of the FIC Act, which increases their regulatory functions over attorneys. This is indicative of a commitment to professionalism and ethical behaviour among practising attorneys,” says David Bekker, Co-Chairperson of the Law Society of South Africa and Chairperson of its FIC Committee.
From the perspective of compliance with the FIC Act, a key requirement for practising attorneys is the obligation to register with the FIC in terms of section 43B of the FIC Act.
“We believe that approximately 10 000 attorneys firms should be registered with the FIC,” says Murray Michell, Director of the FIC. “We urge practising attorneys who are not yet registered with the FIC to do so.”