South African President Jacob Zuma signed the anti-money laundering Financial Intelligence Centre Amendment (FICA) [text, PDF] on Saturday to combat tax evasion and money laundering in the country. The global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) [official website] organization had threatened to oust South Africa if the amendment had not been passed before June 20. Supporters say the law is a tool against international financial crime, making it easier to identify the actual owners of accounts around the world and would apply to Zuma and other prominent figures in South Africa. The legislature passed the bill last year, but Zuma originally refused to sign it, citing concerns about its constitutionality [Bloomberg report]. In February the Legislature approved changes to the bill to meet Zuma’s concerns.
The South African president has been connected to corruption on several occasions. In November 2016 the High Court of South Africa ordered the release [JURIST report] of a report on corruption allegations against Zuma, that he had attempted to block from release. In June 2016, a South African court denied [JURIST report] Zuma’s appeal of a prior court ruling that he should face nearly 800 corruption charges. In March 2016, the South Africa Constitutional Court ordered [JURIST report] Zuma to personally repay the amounts determined by the National Treasury, as they relate to the “non-security” upgrades to his private residence