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Fica - 'suspicion'

22 April 2004

The writer analyses what meaning should be given to 'suspicion' in the application of Fica. After looking at the interpretation which our courts have given in a number of cases such as Minister of Law and Order v Kader 1991 (1) SA 41 (A) she concludes that s 29 of Fica creates a duty to report a 'reasonable' suspicion.

Such a suspicion must be based on justifiable and factual grounds - be objective - a conclusion borne out by the requirement in s 29(2) that a person must report 'the grounds for the knowledge or suspicion' and the reference in s 52(2) to 'reasonably ought to have suspected' as the basis for the offence of negligently failing to report.

Regarding the definition of 'transaction' in s 1 of Fica, to wit:
'a transaction concluded between a client and an accountable institution in accordance with the type of business carried on by that institution', the writer opines that in the context of s 29 it should be given its ordinary, grammatical meaning.

The article ends with a look at the defences which can be raised (s 69) after being charged with contravening s 52 of Fica (failure to report).

De Rebus website

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