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Malawi: Consultant: Assessment of Beneficial Ownership Systems in Malawi

About the Basel Institute on Governance

The Basel Institute on Governance is an international and independent not-for-profit organisation working worldwide with the public and private sector to counter corruption and other financial crimes and to improve the quality of governance. As a Swiss foundation with headquarters in Basel, the Basel Institute maintains field operations in Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The Basel Institute is an Associated Institute of the University of Basel.

Project: Tackling Serious and Organised Corruption (TSOC Malawi)

The objective of the Tackling Serious and Organised Corruption (TSOC) programme is to increase the likelihood and severity of sanctions for high-level corruption, and in doing so deter future crimes. The largest component is implemented by the International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR). This responds to strategic and technical assistance needs requested and agreed with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). TSOC also emphasises prevention-oriented activities, including private-sector engagement, supporting the work of the ACB’s prevention, education and research teams, and working with journalists to improve the quality of reporting on corruption and anti-corruption in Malawi through the Continuing Journalism Education (CJE) activities.

The consultant will undertake a technical assessment of the systems and legal framework in an area key to the fight against corruption in Malawi, namely the development and management of a beneficial ownership database. This assignment entails working with the Department of the Registrar General of Malawi (DRG).

The DRG is implementing the Malawi Business Registration System (MBRS) which will facilitate an online and digitised process for the registration of companies within Malawi. DRG has reached out to the TSOC programme to request technical support in the process of updating a new registration process for companies and to set up a new automated stamp duties system in order to create an electronic repository for property transfer instruments and trusts.

Assignment

The MBRS is expected to be fully operational by July 2021 and the DRG wishes to henceforth launch a process to re-register all companies. The new MBRS system provides for collecting beneficial ownership information, which means this will be part of the required information during re-registration.

The consultant will undertake a technical analysis to assess how best to undertake the re-registration process of companies in Malawi in order to ensure the result will be a beneficial ownership database that responds to the recommendations made by the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) to Malawi in the areas of beneficial ownership. The consultant will assess the current legislation governing the topic of beneficial ownership in order to ascertain whether any amendments are required to ensure that the process of companies’ re-registration and the features of the database that will thereby be created are consistent with the attainment of a robust beneficial ownership registry compliant with the best practices stipulated by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The consultant will examine and propose a system design that ensures the registry meets the needs of other key stakeholders in Malawi such as the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA), Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority (PPDA) so these stakeholders do not have to collect subsequent or additional information. In this regard, the consultant will also assess the MBRS in terms of data collection, data management and data sharing capabilities. He/she will provide recommendations regarding how the beneficial ownership registry can be best built up in the course of the re-registration process and suggest ways to ensure effective data sharing capabilities with respect to other key stakeholders. Further, the consultant will make recommendations on public access to the MBRS, including beneficial ownership information, and adequate privacy measures.

The consultant will also assess the existing systems and capabilities with a view to establishing the exact cost factor for a new Stamp Duty system including hardware and software. Consideration will be made of the inclusion of Estate Duties into such system. Regarding this aspect of the assignment, the consultant will take into account that data sharing regarding property transfer with law enforcement agencies (e.g. FIA, ACB) and other stakeholders key to the detection of corruption in Malawi (such as the MRA and PPDA) is an essential goal of the process of building systems at the DRG and will make recommendations to that effect. In addition, the consultant shall engage with the Revenue Policy Division (RPD), who would account for the revenue collected from stamp duties/estate duties ideally in real time, dependent on the system developed.

With a view that the end goal of the TSOC programme is to build robust systems in Malawi to effectively deter and detect corruption and, that in this regard a functional and comprehensive beneficial ownership registry is a central element, key focal areas for the assignment include:

· Assessing and providing recommendations on the technical details involved in re-registering companies in Malawi into the new MBRS;

· Assessing the current legal framework governing the registration of companies and indicating whether any amendments are needed in order to ensure compliance with best international standards; including the most effective routes through which to enact such amendments/regulations.

· Recommending concrete steps to ensure the adequate digitisation of existing physical files held by the DRG and indicating the systems requirements to enable digital access to electronic files;

· Providing an evaluation of the requirements, costs and feasible models for the implementation of a digitalised Stamp Duty system for the DRG;

· Evaluating how to enhance data sharing capabilities of the DRG and key local government stakeholders responsible for the detection and investigation of crimes of corruption;

· Assessing how beneficial ownership databases developed under the DRG can be effectively linked in to information systems and decision-making processes of other relevant government agencies.

Qualifications

The consultant should have at least 10 years’ experience working in the field of anti-corruption, strategic database development and management, and/or public registries. He/she should have a demonstrable track record in developing and implementing projects relating to the operationalisation of public registries and strategic public database systems as well as expertise in the legal and institutional best practices in the field of beneficial ownership, anti-money laundering and anti-corruption. The consultant must have a strong expertise in the technical aspects involved in the set-up, maintenance and updating of public strategic databases. Experience working with government entities in similar projects is an advantage. Strong command of the English language is a must and experience conducting applied development assistance in Sub-Saharan Africa is an advantage.

Applications from individual consultants as well as from teams or companies specialising in the areas outlined above are welcome.

Activities and timeline

The assignment is foreseen to require a desk research component and an in-country scoping mission involving interviews with relevant stakeholders.

The assignment will require a maximum of 20 work days with an in-country presence of a minimum of 10 work days (COVID restrictions permitting) starting as soon as possible upon signing of consultancy contract.

Reporting

The consultant will report to the TSOC team leader, Mr David Sip, for operational matters and to the TSOC head of prevention, Dr Claudia Baez Camargo, for substantive matters.

Deliverables

The deliverable will be a comprehensive technical assessment report that should include recommendations, next steps and phasing. All recommendations should be formulated with a view to ensuring alignment with the recommendations made to Malawi in the ESAAMLG/ FATF Mutual Evaluation Report, which is an annex to these ToR. In accordance with the above, it is therefore expected that the deliverable will be a comprehensive report detailing a technical assessment of the following:

· The requisites for a successful process of re-registration of companies in Malawi to the effect that the outcome will be a beneficial ownership registry compliant with ESAAMLG recommendations and FATF best practices;

· The adequateness of the current legal framework (including the Business Registration Act, Companies Act, Trustees Incorporation Act) conducive to meeting the recommendations set by the ESAAMLG/FATF Mutual Evaluation Report for Malawi and recommendations for amendments conducive to fulfilling that goal;

· The state of the data currently held by the DRG and suggestions of concrete options and steps for digitalising and managing it consistent with the goal of supporting information systems’ strengthening and data sharing capabilities in a manner that is feasible for the Malawian context;

· Specifications, options and quotes for the implementation of a digitalised Stamp Duty system;

· Review of existing data sharing systems between DRG and key MDAs such as FIA, ACB, MRA RPD and PPDA and provision of recommendations to ensure effective, secure and efficient sharing of data.

How to apply

Application submissions

Interested applicants should submit an expression of interest of not more than 3 pages, outlining: (i) their relevant experience for the assignment; (ii) the steps and activities they would undertake in order to execute the assignment; (iii) an indicative workplan; (iv) and any clarifications they would wish to seek from the Basel Institute prior to executing the assignment. Expert CVs should be limited to 2 pages maximum per expert (if more than 1 expert) and are in addition to the 3-page limit.

Applications should be submitted to proposal@baselgovernance.org no later than 18:00 CET on 9 July 2021. Please note that applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and early application is recommended.

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