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Tackling money laundering in Tanzania: are private legal practitioners crime enablers or ineffectual and reluctant gatekeepers?

Eugene E. Mniwasa (Department of Management Sciences, The Institute of Finance Management, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania)

Journal of Money Laundering Control

ISSN: 1368-5201

Article publication date: 6 June 2020

Issue publication date: 31 July 2021




This paper aims to examine the money laundering vulnerability of private legal practitioners in Tanzania, the involvement of these practitioners in money laundering activities and their role in preventing, detecting and thwarting money laundering and its predicate crimes.


The paper applies the “black-letter” law research approach to describe, examine and analyze the anti-money laundering law in Tanzania. It also uses the “law-in-context” research approach to interrogate the anti-money laundering law and to provide an understanding of factors impacting on the efficacy and readiness of private legal practitioners in Tanzania to tackle money laundering. The review of literature and analysis of statutory instruments and case law, reports of the anti-money laundering authorities and agencies and media reports-generated data are used in this paper. This information was complemented by data from interviews of purposively selected private legal practitioners.


Private legal practitioners in Tanzania are vulnerable to money laundering. There is an emerging evidence that indicates the involvement of some private legal practitioners in the commission of money laundering and/or its predicate crimes. The law designates the legal practitioners as reporting persons and imposes on the obligation to fight against money laundering. Law-related factors and practical challenges undermine the capacity of the legal practitioners to curb money laundering. Additionally, certain hostile perceptions contribute to the legal practitioners’ unwillingness, indifference or opposition against the fight against money laundering.

Research limitations/implications

The paper underscores the need for Tanzania to reform its policy and legal frameworks to create enabling environment for anti-money laundering gatekeepers, including private legal practitioners to partake efficiently in the fight against money laundering. It also underlines the importance of incorporating the principles that govern the private legal practise to enable the practitioners to partake effectively in tackling money laundering.


This paper generates useful information to private legal practitioners, policy makers and academicians on issues relating to money laundering and its control in Tanzania and presents recommendations on possible policy and legal reforms that can be adopted and applied to augment the role of the legal practitioners in Tanzania to combat money laundering.



The author would like to thank anonymous reviewers who read the original manuscript and provided useful comments.

In conducting the research, the author did not receive any financial support from any third party. The author declares further that there is no conflict of interest in the research.


Mniwasa, E.E. (2021), "Tackling money laundering in Tanzania: are private legal practitioners crime enablers or ineffectual and reluctant gatekeepers?", Journal of Money Laundering Control, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 291-324.



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