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Cameroon tightens up legislation governing personal financial data

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Cameroon , 25 Mar 2022

The government of Cameroon is looking to promulgate Bill No. 2016/PJL/AN Governing Banking Secrecy and effectively broaden existing legislation to include microfinance institutions and other payment service providers.

If passed, the Bill will broaden Law No. 2003/4 of 21 April 2003 that currently governs the use of personal financial data but within the confines of commercial banks.

The government said that developments within the technology and finance industries have increased the risk of cybercrime and rendered current legislation obsolete.

The Bill is under review by the National Assembly which is expected to make a final decision in a matter of weeks.

If adopted, electronic payment service providers like MTN Mobile Money, Orange Money, Express Union Mobile Money, BGFI Money, amongst others, as well as their employees, will be compelled to guarantee the confidentiality of the personal and financial data of their clients and refrain from disclosing such information to third parties.

However a number of authorities are exempt from the changes, including the National Economic and Financial Committee, Banking Commission of Central Africa, Bank of Central African States, National Agency for Financial Investigation, Supreme State Audit Office, the state counsel, as well as customs and taxation departments.

After a discussion of the Bill at Budget and Finance Committee of the National Assembly on 22 March, the country’s Minister of Finance Louis Paul Motaze told reporters that the law is meant to “increase confidence for whosoever has money to keep in the bank.”

Anyone breaking the law could face imprisonment from three months to three years and/or a fine of between 1 million francs CFA and 50 million francs CFA.

If the offence is committed through electronic communication or any other mass medium, the penalty will be doubled.

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