The Bankers Association of Lesotho (BAL) has relaunched a joint re-verification campaign in which they are asking their customers to update their personal details until September 30.
This was stated by BAL Chairperson Mr. Mpho Vumbukani during a press briefing held in Maseru. He said the association had extended submission for the next three months after which, will be left with no option but to freeze accounts whose details will have not been updated.
Mr. Vumbukani said that they are doing as all the banks in the country and that means everybody who has an account with any bank and has not updated their records will be affected, therefore, it is important that Basotho heed to the call and approach the matter with urgency.
Mr. Vumbukani said it is a requirement by Law to know their customers and it is also a condition of operation for their banking licenses saying they are also a highly regulated industry for they hold the depositor's money.
The BAL Chairperson, who is also the Chief Executive of Standard Lesotho Bank said the reason why Know Your Customer (KYC) is a legal instrument is because governments have put this requirement as a control and a monitoring instrument towards combating money laundering and financing of terrorism, both of which are a global concern.
“Even if terrorism may not be a concern for us yet, the issue is that Lesotho has to be on par with other nations, so that we do not become a launchpad for international terrorism and money laundering which explains why our government has ratified international conventions that combat these economic crimes, and therefore, these laws are binding for us as banks and the country at large,” he said.
He said for people to update their details at their respective banks, they need their personal identity which includes valid passport, national ID or a valid driver’s license. For proof of residential address, they require a utility bill from Wasco or LEC that is not more than three months old, a letter from a public authority, or a lease document. He also indicated that customers also need to provide proof of all their sources of income such as payslips in the case of salaried persons.
Mr. Vumbukani said for verification, customers are allowed to visit any of the nearest branches to get assistance.
Asked on whether the banks had encountered money laundering issue and how they handled it, he said banks only provide or report to the Financial Intelligence Unit, accounts which they suspect need to be investigated or as demanded by law enforcement agencies from time to time.
Reports indicate that in October 2015, banks sent out communication to all customers requesting them to update their personal records at their respective banks, and the call was heeded by many but not all their customers who hold bank accounts with their different banks.
BAL is formed of First National Bank, Nedbank, Standard Lesotho Bank and Post bank.