Countries/Jurisdictions of Primary Concern - Lesotho

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Report

Lesotho is neither a regional nor an offshore financial center. Money laundering is related primarily to corruption and tax evasion. While there is no significant black market for smuggled goods in the country, undeclared and under-declared items pass daily between Lesotho and South Africa over the countries’ extensive and porous land border. The smuggling is low level and committed by individuals. Smugglers commonly bring undeclared consumer goods or, occasionally, larger items like automobiles from South Africa into Lesotho. Smaller items are smuggled to avoid paperwork and other official annoyances, while larger items are smuggled to avoid paying import taxes at the borders. There is some evidence of small arms being smuggled across Lesotho’s porous border, often in exchange for Lesotho-grown marijuana. The funding source is unclear, as is the destination of the proceeds.

For additional information focusing on terrorist financing, please refer to the Department of State’s Country Reports on Terrorism, which can be found at: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/

DO FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ENGAGE IN CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS RELATED TO INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING THAT INCLUDE SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF US CURRENCY; CURRENCY DERIVED FROM ILLEGAL SALES IN THE U.S.; OR ILLEGAL DRUG SALES THAT OTHERWISE SIGNIFICANTLY AFFECT THE U.S.: NO

CRIMINALIZATION OF MONEY LAUNDERING:
“All serious crimes” approach or “list” approach to predicate crimes: All serious crimes
Are legal persons covered: criminally: YES civilly: YES

KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) RULES:
Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs: Foreign: YES Domestic: YES
KYC covered entities: Banks, money lenders, money exchangers, brokers, insurance companies, securities dealers, real estate agents, gambling houses, casinos, the lottery, precious metals or stones dealers, and service providers

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS:
Number of STRs received and time frame: 7: January - November 2013
Number of CTRs received and time frame: Not available
STR covered entities: Banks, money lenders, money exchangers, brokers, insurance companies, securities dealers, real estate agents, gambling houses, casinos, the lottery, precious metals or stones dealers, and service providers

MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS/CONVICTIONS:
Prosecutions: 0 in 2013
Convictions: 0 in 2013

RECORDS EXCHANGE MECHANISM:
With U.S.: MLAT: NO Other mechanism: NO
With other governments/jurisdictions: YES

Lesotho is a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), a FATF-style regional body. Its most recent mutual evaluation can be found at: http://www.esaamlg.org/reports/view_me.php?id=231

ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS:

While the Government of Lesotho is steadily increasing its ability to monitor international financial transactions in Lesotho for AML/CFT purposes, limited resources, capacity, and expertise, as well as a lack of both awareness and training pose serious challenges to the adequate implementation of Lesotho’s AML/CFT legislation.

In 2013, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) published AML guidelines for the first time. The guidelines require reporting entities to submit suspicious transaction reports (STRs) to the FIU only, as opposed to both the Directorate of Corruption and Economic Offenses (DCEO) and the FIU, as provided for in the Money Laundering and Proceeds of Crime Act (MLPCA). The MLPCA is being revised. The DCEO is working toward operationalizing its AML unit. The FIU is continuing to raise awareness among banks and other professions about their obligations under the MLPCA.

Customs enforcement and other weak points at Lesotho’s borders continue to be key areas of concern.