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SA’s FIC director named Financial Crime Fighter of the Year

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Advocate Xolisile Khanyile, director of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), has been named Financial Crime Fighter of the Year for 2022 by the Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime.

The award was announced in Brussels on 15 December.

The coalition says the award was made to Khanyile “due to her commitment to fight financial crime, not just in South Africa but across the continent and internationally, with a career spanning 23 years”. It adds that the award is in recognition of her contribution and leadership in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.

Khanyile’s nomination was in her capacity as chair of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units, director of the FIC and chair of the public-private partnership the South African Anti-Money Laundering Integrated Task Force (Samlit).

“This award is a recognition for Xolisile and voted by her peers in the anti-financial crime community due to her leadership and unwavering commitment to establish the first public-private partnership in Sub-Saharan Africa (established in 2019) while expanding this partnership across the region and creating unique working groups to tackle wildlife trafficking and human trafficking across the continent and internationally.”

‘Dedicated to the fight’

Commenting on the accolade, Khanyile said: “I have spent 28 years dedicated to the fight against financial crime, five of which I spent in the Financial Intelligence Centre, South Africa, supporting the efforts in combating money laundering and assisting in the identification of proceeds of crime.

“There is still a lot that needs to be done in refining the AML/CFT [anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism] regime to be more impactful, from receiving quality reports from the reporting institutions, to having fit for purpose financial intelligence units that are sufficiently resourced, to having skilled law enforcement agencies that are capable of speedily actioning intelligence reports and ensuring they are utilised in investigations, prosecutions and recovery of assets, more in particular of cases that are unknown and have not been registered by the police.”

Khanyile regards public-private partnerships like Samlit as a game changer and a step in the right direction.

“I want to personally thank the Global Coalition to Fight Financial Crime for their commitment to assisting us in our fight,” she said.

She describes the award as “a privilege” and “one of the greatest honours of my life’s ambition, to make our world safer”.

The coalition says Khanyile’s leadership will raise the profile of Africa and women in leadership roles in the fight against financial crimes as she is “a role model for many across our industry”.

Nondumiso Lehutso is a Moneyweb intern.

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