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Deadline for bank clients



Lemohang Rakotsoane



THE Bankers Association of Lesotho (BAL) has called on all customers of banks who opened accounts more than a year ago to come forward and verify their personal information.

The deadline for the verification exercise is September 30.

Customers who fail to verify their personal information will have their accounts frozen.

Mpho Vumbukani, the Standard Lesotho Bank CEO who is also the chairperson of BAL, said the verification of customer’s information is an effort that banks all over the world are mandated to carry out in order to ensure security for their customers and to protect them against crimes like money laundering.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, Vumbukani said they had previously called their customers to update their personal records at their respective banks but there were those who did not do as requested hence they are calling them again to give them a chance.

“This request emulates from the legal and regulatory instruments that control the banking in the country as prescribed by the Central Bank of Lesotho,” Vumbukani said.

“This clarion call was heeded by many but not all our customers who hold bank accounts with our different banks. We have continued to send notifications over the last few months but it seems like we are failing to get the message across as we note that compliance levels are very low,” he said.

“We have made a conscious decision to re-launch the re-verification campaign, where we ask our customers to update their details starting from today until the 30th of September,” he said.

Vumbukani emphasised that the re-verification exercise is compulsory for all banks in Lesotho and therefore everybody who has an account with any bank should heed this call or they will be affected.

“We have extended submission for the next three months after which we will be left with no option but to freeze accounts whose details will not be updated by this date,” Vumbukani said.

Vumbukani indicated that the banking industry is one of the highly regulated industries in the world as they hold depositors’ money hence the need to know their customers.

“As part of the Know–Your- Customer (KYC) requirement, this is required by law and it is a condition of operation for our banking licences,” Vumbukani said.

“The reason KYC is a legal requirement is because governments have put this requirement as a control and monitoring instrument combating money laundering and financing terrorism both of which are a global concern,” he said.

He further stated that even if terrorism may not be a problem in Lesotho yet it is important for Lesotho to be at par with other nations.

“This is so that we do not become a launch pad for international terrorism and money laundering, which explains why our government has ratified international conventions that combat these economic crimes and these laws are binding for us as a country,” Vumbukani said.

Vumbukani said they need documentation from individuals, companies and other legal persona such as societies, clubs and school.

“We need these details so that as banks we are aware of your personal identity, your physical location and all your sources of income,” he said.

“For individuals we request that they provide us with a valid passport or the recently introduced National ID or a valid driver’s licence. To verify proof of residence we require a utility bill that is no more than three months old or a letter from an authorised authority which in most cases is known as Lengolo la Morena. We also need source of income by means of pay slip or employment advice,” he said.

Vumbukani said for companies they need certificate of incorporation, trader’s licence, tax clearance certificate, proof of residential address and directors of the company as similar for individuals and this also applies for the personas authorised to transact on behalf of the company.

“For schools, clubs and associations we require a constitution of founding papers of entity, source of income like subscriptions and valid identification similar for individuals,” Vumbukani said.

Speaking to thepost, the Managing Director of Lesotho Post Bank, Molefi Leqhaoe, said it is crucial for customers to keep their pins safe and to avoid sharing their account information with others.

“Always know your balance as this will alert you in case someone somewhere has used your account for money laundering and other scams or proceeds of crime,” Leqhaoe said.

He said Basotho should avoid engaging themselves in illegal activities.

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