Somali National Telecommunications Authority directs companies to follow anti-money laundering measures

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Somalia’s National Communications Authority has instructed telecommunications companies to adhere to a list of decisions issued by the National Anti-Money Laundering & Combating the Financing of Terrorism (NAMLC) in mid-February. The companies have been directed to implement these decisions without delay.

The agency has mandated that telecommunications companies obtain licenses from the Central Bank of Somalia for mobile money services. Additionally, they must ensure that their mobile money services on their network and mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) comply with the technical and operational guidelines set forth by the Central Bank and the decisions of the Executive Committee of NAMLC.

The Somali Communications Agency issued a statement indicating that telecommunications companies must register their clients’ SIM cards. New customers are required to provide at least one photograph and fingerprint. Existing customers must re-register within 90 days, in compliance with Article 5 of the Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Law and Article 66 of the National Telecommunications Law.

The agency emphasized that Somali telecommunications companies must comply with all decisions made by the National Committee for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism, and must work closely with various institutions of the Somali government.

The changes are being made to formalize Somalia’s digital financial infrastructure. In February 2021, the country awarded its first mobile money license to Hormuud Telecom, making the Mogadishu-based EVC Plus service subject to central bank regulation.

Mobile money has become the primary mode of payment in Somalia, with over two-thirds of all payments made via mobile money platforms.